Artificial Intelligence to add more than $133bn to Saudi Arabia’s GDP

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President of SDAIA Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi at the launch of the new brand identity. (AN Photo)
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President of SDAIA Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi at the launch of the new brand identity. (AN Photo)
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President of SDAIA Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi, left, at the launch of the new brand identity, in Riyadh. (AN Photo)
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Guests at the launch of SDAIA’s new brand identity, in Riyadh. (AN Photo)
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Updated 06 March 2020

Artificial Intelligence to add more than $133bn to Saudi Arabia’s GDP

  • The SDAIA was launched last August by royal decree and is responsible for overseeing the country’s data and AI strategy
  • Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi: We have a clear vision and roadmap for transforming Saudi Arabia into a leading AI and data-driven economy

RIYADH: Artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to contribute an estimated SR500 billion ($133 billion) to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product by 2030, according to the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA).

The SDAIA was launched last August by royal decree and is responsible for overseeing the country’s data and AI strategy through the National Data Management Office, the National Information Center, and the National Center for Artificial Intelligence.

The SDAIA said the value of Saudi Arabia’s data and AI economy was currently estimated at between SR15 - 20 billion, and that there was an opportunity to generate additional revenues and savings of over SR40 billion by harnessing data insights to help guide government decisions.

“We have witnessed firsthand the early impact of AI and data-driven initiatives and their potential to propel Saudi Arabia’s future economy, but we are still in the early stages with several untapped opportunities available,” Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi, president of the SDAIA, said at a launch event for the authority's new logo.

The SDAIA seeks to place the Kingdom among the world’s leading economies by adopting AI. It is hosting a global AI summit at Riyadh’s King Abdulaziz International Conference Center at the end of this month that will bring together stakeholders from the public sector, academia and the private sector. 

“We at the SDAIA have been tasked with defining the national data and AI strategy, and delivering on our nation’s vision for the future by optimizing our national resources, improving efficiencies and enabling the creation of diversified economic sectors," Al-Ghamdi told people at the launch event.

He said that the SDAIA had made a lot of progress in its first year of operations. The establishment of a national data bank had consolidated more than 80 government datasets, corresponding to 30 percent of government digital assets. The authority aims to build one of the largest clouds in the region by merging 83 data centers owned by over 40 government bodies, and utilizing AI-analyzed data to detect opportunities that could generate more than SR40 billion in government savings and additional revenues.

Al-Ghamdi emphasized the importance of data, citing a global expert who described data as "oil of the 21st century" and a study from global research firm Gartner that said the value of data would reach $2.9 trillion by 2021 and generate around 3.4 million jobs in AI-based data and analysis.

“Data is the single most important driver of our growth and reform in the 21st century, and we have a clear vision and roadmap for transforming Saudi Arabia into a leading AI and data-driven economy. The SDAIA is at the forefront of this transformation and is primed for national data and AI agenda definition, implementation and awareness," said Al-Ghamdi.

Around 70 percent of 96 strategic goals under Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 reform plan are closely related to data and AI.


Preserving heritage means securing the future, says Princess Haifa

Updated 05 July 2020

Preserving heritage means securing the future, says Princess Haifa

  • Saudi Arabia is at the 209th session to discuss international issues related to the fields of education, science and culture

PARIS: Princess Haifa bint Abdul Aziz Al-Muqrin, the Kingdom’s permanent representative to UNESCO, said that changes can only be faced with global efforts to achieve the common goals of promoting peace, building cultural bridges between nations, and empowering societies to guarantee a better future.

Saudi Arabia recently participated in the 209th session of the UNESCO Executive Council at the agency’s Paris headquarters. The Kingdom was represented at the session by Princess Haifa and a team of 26 Saudi experts from different sectors that have activities related to the scope of UNESCO’s work, such as education, culture, energy, environment, and training.

Princess Haifa said: “Despite our different cultures and languages, we share our belief that education is a right for everyone, that preserving heritage means securing the future, and that innovation and science are the bridge that will pull us out of this pandemic the world today is living.”

She said that the Kingdom supported African countries and was ready to share its experiences in various UNESCO fields, in addition to supporting action plans related to developing islands as one of its priorities in exchanging experiences, especially since the Kingdom is one of the most advanced countries in the world in the field of water desalination.

Reference was made to the Kingdom’s support for international growth and stability through the G20 presidency, specifically with regard to ensuring the continuity of education in crises, the continuation of efforts to achieve climate adaptation worldwide, and solidarity with the members of the G20 in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a member state of the UNESCO Executive Council, Saudi Arabia is at the 209th session to discuss international issues related to the fields of education, science and culture. These will be evaluated and decided upon, and the executive decisions assigned to them will be voted on, in cooperation with the council’s member states.

The Kingdom’s participation in the meetings of the UNESCO Executive Council also comes as part of its permanent presence in the international cultural and educational organization since its foundation in 1946.