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

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)
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)
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, left, at the launch of the new brand identity, in Riyadh. (AN Photo)
Artificial Intelligence to add more than $133bn to Saudi Arabia’s GDP
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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

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.


Organization of Islamic Cooperation chief, Moroccan envoy discuss cooperation

Organization of Islamic Cooperation chief, Moroccan envoy discuss cooperation
Updated 26 February 2021

Organization of Islamic Cooperation chief, Moroccan envoy discuss cooperation

Organization of Islamic Cooperation chief, Moroccan envoy discuss cooperation

JEDDAH: The secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, on Thursday received the Moroccan ambassador to Saudi Arabia and OIC permanent representative, Dr. Mustafa Al-Mansouri.
The envoy signed the statute of the Islamic Organization for Food Security on behalf of his country and discussed with Al-Othaimeen ways to further strengthen cooperation between the OIC and Morocco. Al-Othaimeen praised Morocco’s leading role within the organization and in joint Islamic action.


Who’s Who: Dr. Mahmoud Al-Yamany, executive president of Second Health Cluster

Who’s Who: Dr. Mahmoud Al-Yamany, executive president of Second Health Cluster
Updated 26 February 2021

Who’s Who: Dr. Mahmoud Al-Yamany, executive president of Second Health Cluster

Who’s Who: Dr. Mahmoud Al-Yamany, executive president of Second Health Cluster

Dr. Mahmoud Al-Yamany is the executive president of a group of Saudi healthcare facilities known as the Second Health Cluster. It includes King Fahd Medical City, Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz Hospital, King Saud Hospital for Chest Diseases, Al-Yamamah Hospital, and a group of primary healthcare centers in northeastern Riyadh.
Al-Yamany has also served as director of the National Neuroscience Institute, chairman of the board of directors of the Scientific Committee for Neurosurgery, medical director of neurology and head of the department of neurosurgery, both at King Fahd Medical City, and as a consultant of neurosurgery at the Riyadh Medical Complex.
He sat as chairman of the accreditation committee for health promotion at King Fahd Medical City, was a consultant of neurosurgery at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, and was an honorary professor of assistant clinical neurosurgery at King Saud University.
In addition, he held the positions of assistant executive director of medical departments and deputy executive director for medical affairs at King Fahd Medical City.
He is a representative of Saudi Arabia and an examiner on the Arab Board of Neurosurgery, and an executive partner of the Qimam Fellowship, which provides its fellows with one-on-one mentorship from senior public and private sector leaders.
Al-Yamany gained master’s degrees in health administration, and health management from Washington University, bachelor’s degrees in medicine, and surgery from King Saud University’s college of medicine in Riyadh.


Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and US President Biden discuss regional security

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and US President Biden discuss regional security
Updated 26 February 2021

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and US President Biden discuss regional security

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and US President Biden discuss regional security
  • The talks dealt with ‘the most important issues in the region’
  • They discussed Iran’s destabilizing behavior and ending the war in Yemen

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and US President Joe Biden discussed regional and global stability during a phone call on Thursday.
The two leaders stressed the importance of strengthening the partnership between the two countries and the depth of their historical relations, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
During the call, King Salman congratulated Biden on taking office last month.
The talks dealt with the most important issues in the region and reviewed developments of common interest, the report said.
The two sides discussed Iran’s behavior in the region, its destabilizing activities and its support for terrorist groups.
“King Salman thanked the US president for Washington’s commitment to defend the Kingdom against any threats and his assurance that Iran would not be allowed to possess nuclear weapons,” SPA said.
Biden commended the Kingdom’s support for UN efforts to reach a truce and a cease-fire in Yemen.
King Salman said the Kingdom was keen to reach a comprehensive political solution in Yemen and to achieve security and development for the Yemeni people.
A statement from the White House said the US president told King Salman he would work to make the bilateral relationship as strong and transparent as possible.


SAF improving lives of autistic children in Saudi Arabia for years

SAF improving lives of autistic children in Saudi Arabia for years
Updated 26 February 2021

SAF improving lives of autistic children in Saudi Arabia for years

SAF improving lives of autistic children in Saudi Arabia for years
  • Arab News spoke to Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz bin Farhan Al-Saud, SAF’s chairman, to discover more about the charity’s efforts since its launch in 2009

JEDDAH: The Saudi-based Charitable Society of Autism Families (SAF) has been assisting families with autistic children and pushing for greater community inclusion for more than 10 years now. But while awareness of autism in the region has improved in that time, there remains a stigma around and lack of understanding of the condition in the Kingdom.

Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impairs a person’s ability to communicate or socialize with others. It can lead to a variety of seemingly anti-social behaviors, including a lack of desire to interact with other people, displays of apparent hostility, avoidance of eye contact, repetitive patterns of behavior, and more.

Arab News spoke to Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz bin Farhan Al-Saud, SAF’s chairman, to discover more about the charity’s efforts since its launch in 2009.

“With the right health care and resources, combined with family support, some of the children on the spectrum can gain the necessary skills to lead a ‘normal’ life and, in some cases, demonstrate special talents and capabilities not common in the wider population,” Prince Saud said. “We see many inspiring examples in our society and we regularly showcase these success stories.”

Autism is commonly diagnosed by the age of three and is more prevalent in males than females. The first studies of autism appeared in the 1960s, but less-severe varieties of autism were not identified until the 1980’s. Today, three types of ASD have been identified — each with specific characteristics that help doctors diagnose patients. They are autistic disorder, also known as classic autism; Asperger syndrome; and pervasive developmental disorders, also known as atypical autism.

Prince Saud said it is difficult to produce an accurate estimate of how many people in the Kingdom have ASD, due to the lack of sufficient studies. “However, according to the US CDC, 1 in 54 children — across all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups — has been identified with ASD, meaning an approximate 1-2 percent of the global population is on the spectrum,” he said “This percentage might be applicable to the Kingdom.”

One of SAF’s most-common methods of raising awareness is through its series of public seminars, but it has recently also become more active on social media, in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Aside from its campaigning work, the society also helps arrange the provision of services including rehabilitation, educational development, guidance and assistance from other organizations for the families it supports, as well as a range of online offerings, including consultations, lectures and workshops, and rehabilitation services.

“We will continue our efforts to create a welcoming community in which autism is well understood so that those on the spectrum and their families can get the support they need,” Prince Saud said.

 


Saudi Arabia is a critical partner: US Yemen envoy

Saudi Arabia is a critical partner: US Yemen envoy
Updated 26 February 2021

Saudi Arabia is a critical partner: US Yemen envoy

Saudi Arabia is a critical partner: US Yemen envoy
  • Prince Khalid and Lenderking discussed diplomatic efforts and Saudi Arabia’s commitment to finding a solution to the conflict and supporting Yemenis

LONDON: Saudi Arabia is a critical partner of the US, the country’s envoy to Yemen said on Thursday in talks about resolving the conflict.

“The US recognizes the conflict in Yemen cannot be resolved without Saudi support,” Timothy Lenderking said after a meeting with the Kingdom’s Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman.

Prince Khalid and Lenderking also discussed diplomatic efforts and Saudi Arabia’s commitment to finding a solution to the conflict and supporting Yemenis.