World leaders to explore future of healthcare in summit hosted by Saudi non-profit

World leaders will gather to discuss how the world can prepare for future pandemics and drive solutions to global issues at a roundtable hosted by the Future Investment Initiative Institute on Tuesday.

The “Health is Wealth” roundtable will be attended by heads of states, UN ambassadors, corporate leaders and government officials, and will see the Saudi-based institute launch its Global Infectious Diseases Index.

From disparate investment in health to inequalities in access, the FII Institute’s roundtable aims to “address these issues and drive tangible solutions,” the organization said.

Institute CEO Richard Attias said: “The pandemic uncovered some harsh realities; the global economy shrunk by about 4 percent, mobility came to an abrupt standstill, millions of people were pushed into extreme poverty, and weaknesses in our global health systems were exposed.

“For every $1 invested in health, the world could see an economic return between $2 and $4 with developing countries benefiting from the highest returns,” Attias continued. “Now is the moment to charter a path toward more equitable, sustainable, and resilient health systems.”

Speakers at Tuesday’s roundtable will include FII Institute Chairman H.E. Yasir Al-Rumayyan, who is from Saudi Arabia, as well as World Trade Organization Director-General Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, UN Refugee Agency Goodwill Ambassador Nomzamo Mbatha, and US TB Alliance President and CEO Dr. Mel Spigelman.

The roundtable is timed to coincide with the UN General Assembly, which is taking place throughout September — and top of the agenda for the world leaders gathering in New York has been the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The UN has called for multilateral solutions and international cooperation to address the pandemic, and the “Health is Wealth” roundtable is anticipated to plug into that conversation in a hybrid digital and in-person meeting.

The FII Institute is a new global nonprofit foundation based in Riyadh that invests in projects that “turn ideas into real-world solutions.” It focuses investment on five areas — sustainability, healthcare, education, artificial intelligence, and robotics — to address the most pressing issues.