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

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.

Saudi Arabia looks to cut spending in bid to shrink deficit

Updated 01 October 2020

Saudi Arabia looks to cut spending in bid to shrink deficit

  • Saudi Arabia has issued about SR84 billion in sukuk in the year to date

LONDON: Saudi Arabia plans to reduce spending next year by about 7.5 percent to SR990 billion ($263.9 billion) as it seeks to reduce its deficit. This compares to spending of SR1.07 trillion this year, it said in a preliminary budget statement.

The Kingdom anticipates a budget deficit of about 12 percent this year falling to 5.1 percent next year.

Saudi Arabia released data on Wednesday showing that the economy contracted by about 7 percent in the second quarter as regional economies faced the twin blow of the coronavirus pandemic and continued oil price weakness.

The unemployment rate among Saudis increased to 15.4 percent in the second quarter compared with 11.8 percent in the first quarter of the year.

The challenging headwinds facing regional economies is expected to spur activity across debt markets as countries sell bonds to help fund spending.

Saudi Arabia has already issued about SR84 billion in sukuk in the year to date.

“Over the past three years, the government has developed (from scratch) a well-functioning and increasingly deeper domestic sukuk market that has allowed it to tap into growing domestic and international demand for Shariah-compliant fixed income assets,” Moody’s said in a statement on Wednesday. 

“This, in turn, has helped diversify its funding sources compared with what was available during the oil price shock of 2015-16 and ease liquidity pressures amid a more than doubling of government financing needs this year,” the ratings agency added.