Artificial Intelligence could add $320bn to GCC and Egypt economies by 2030: report

Artificial intelligence is allowing robots to perform increasingly sophisticated tasks. (AFP)
Updated 12 February 2018
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Artificial Intelligence could add $320bn to GCC and Egypt economies by 2030: report

LONDON: Artificial intelligence is set to swell the GCC and Egypt’s economies to the tune of $320 billion by 2030, according to a report.
Globally, the economic uplift could be to the magnitude of $15.7 trillion, more than the current output of China and India combined, according to a report by professional services firm PwC.
Within that increase, $6.6 trillion is likely to come from increased productivity, while $9.1 trillion is likely to come from benefits to consumers.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a collective term for computer systems that can sense their environment, think, learn, and take action in response to what they are sensing and their objectives. AI is rapidly evolving, with current technology including autopilots, digital assistants and chatbots.
In the economies of the GCC and Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are expected to particularly benefit from the rise of AI, with PwC predicting it could contribute to almost 14 percent of UAE GDP by 2030. This is followed by KSA at 12.4 percent, the “GCC4” (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar) at 8.2 percent, and lastly by Egypt at 7.7 percent.
The report reveals there are untapped opportunities that could increase the impact of AI on the Middle East’s economies, if governments continue to push the boundaries of innovation and the implementation of AI across businesses and sectors between now and 2030.
“The future strategy of governments in the region, particularly in the UAE and KSA, indicate a strong push toward the development of AI technologies, for example Vision 2030 in KSA and the government’s AI Strategy in the UAE,” Richard Boxshall, senior economist at PwC Middle East, told Arab News.
The first wave of the AI revolution consists of largely known technological innovations that are either adoption-ready or are currently being fine-tuned for broader implementation. Beyond 2030, the scope of AI impacting both the economy and society overall will almost certainly increase, so it is important for the Middle East to be strategically placed in order to provide a springboard for the future, PwC said in a statement.
Fears of AI taking over human jobs have been voiced regularly but according to PwC this should not be a concern: “It is likely that in the coming years as AI is developed we will see a shift in the types of jobs performed by humans, but not necessarily a reduction in the number of jobs,” Boxshall said.
In the UAE, AI is at the forefront of the government’s strategic plans, with government representatives at the recent World Economic Forum touting how the country is embracing the technology.
At the sectoral level, the most significant gains in absolute terms are expected in the construction and manufacturing sectors, which are expected to account for almost a third of the entire benefits to the Middle East region, equivalent to almost $100 billion by 2030.


GITEX Tech showcases Saudi Arabia’s regional innovation drive

Updated 46 min 38 sec ago
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GITEX Tech showcases Saudi Arabia’s regional innovation drive

DUBAI: Dubai’s GITEX Technology week showcased the region’s ability to take the lead in innovation technology, with Saudi Arabia on its way to take the driver’s seat, according to consulting firm Accenture’s country managing director in Saudi Arabia.
“Saudi Arabia will be a leader in supporting innovation and the development of new technology in the region,” Khaled Al-Dhaher told Arab News.
“I think we (Arab countries) can always complement each other in the region to make sure we have the best innovation that is relevant for us and focused on the needs of our markets,” he added.
Among the main drivers behind the Kingdom’s surge into innovation and incubation is the Center of Initiatives at Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation (Misk), which is an exclusive partner at GITEX Future Stars 2018.
Misk Innovation showcased 20 Saudi-based start-ups and incubators, ranging from 3D printing technology (SHAKL) to e-commerce (Zid) to online grocery shopping (ZADFresh).
Another prominent player from the Kingdom was the Badir Program, which helps to sustain and develop pioneering environments within the Kingdom and stays in line with following the crown prince’s Vision 2030 plan.
The plan, unveiled in 2016, is a comprehensive blueprint for the future, laying out a strategy and clear targets to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy, and develop public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation and tourism.
“We see a big support toward start-ups in terms of seed funding, arranging funding rounds, investment funding rounds, which actually is very important to accelerate the growth of these start-ups,” Badir Program’s CEO Nawaf Al-Sahhaf told Arab News, adding: “They (start-ups) created more than 2,000 jobs in the last two years.”
The 38th annual exhibition, which kicked off on Sunday, centered around the rise of smart cities. Dubai’s government featured high-tech stands promoting the emirate’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s vision of a totally smart Dubai.
While Dubai is ahead of Saudi Arabia in this respect, the latter is not far behind.
“Saudi Arabia is building new cities now, and one of them is NEOM. Smart cities needs smart solutions and smart products, so Saudi Arabia is a big supporter of entrepreneurs and the private sector in order to come up with these smart solutions,” Al-Sahhaf said.
“Saudi Arabia is moving in this [Smart] direction and we are in good hands,” he added.
The Saudi Technology Development and Investment Company, Taqania, was also featured at the exhibition. Owned by the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, Taqania is one of Saudi Arabia’s main proponents in a non-oil dependent Kingdom aligned with Vision 2030, and invests in technology that contributes to the country’s economic diversification.
The exhibition is split among several categories including Gulf Comms & Mobility, Global Solution Providers, Smart Workplace & Smart Homes, Value-Added Distributors, Printing & Automation, Consumer Tech, Enterprise Software, Network & Security, Future Tech and IOT Big Cloud Data.
GITEX Technology week runs from Oct. 14 to 18, with GITEX Future Stars taking place from Oct. 14 to 17.