Saudi Arabia’s $20bn bid to lead the world in artificial intelligence

Several major partnerships and initiatives are expected to be announced during the course of the two-day summit. (Screenshot)
Short Url
Updated 22 October 2020

Saudi Arabia’s $20bn bid to lead the world in artificial intelligence

  • Aim is to train 20,000 data specialists and launch 300 startup companies by 2030

RIYADH, DUBAI: Saudi Arabia launched an audacious multibillion-dollar strategy on Wednesday to become a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) and data by 2030.
The aim is to train 20,000 specialists and experts, have 300 active startups and attract $20 billion in national and foreign investment in data and AI.
“Saudi Arabia wants to set the best example globally in using AI for the development of a nation,” Abdullah bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi, president of the Saudi Data and AI Authority, told the Global AI Summit in Riyadh.
“The strategy aims to make Saudi Arabia the place where the best of data and artificial intelligence is made reality … it sets the foundation and direction upon which we will unlock the potential of data and AI to fulfill our national transformation priorities and establish Saudi Arabia as a global hub for data and AI.”
Alghamdi said Saudi Arabia viewed the summit as an annual platform that would look at AI in a fresh and positive way that “elevates international collaboration over competition.”
 “AI’s potential has led to fierce competition between nations to claim global leadership … there has been an overly negative debate on the risks and dangers,” he said.

 

The inaugural summit aims to explore artificial intelligence’s role in the new global era and how its transformational potential can be deployed “to create a better future for all.”
Among the aims is accelerating AI for sustainable development in less wealthy countries, Al-Ghamdi said, so that “no one is left is behind.” Saudi Arabia and the World Bank have launched an initiative to enhance the digital economy in developing countries and empower them to expedite AI technology.  
Esam Al-Wagait, director of Saudi Arabia’s National Information Center, said the agreement would forge partnerships to speed up AI development in less fortunate African countries. Makhtar Diop, vice president for infrastructure at the World Bank, said the partnerships would help the governments of those countries build AI capabilities and set relevant development policies.
He said there was a focus on the African continent based on the common intentions of the strategic partnership. This also aims to aid developing countries and help them create innovative solutions to their economic and social challenges, and contribute to enhancing the efficiency of all vital sectors in these countries through AI.
Before the summit concludes on Thursday, global AI agreements and partnerships will be signed, and the winners of the AI Artathon competition and NEOM Challenge will be announced.
 


Al-Jouf principality, Saudi Ministry of Environment sign agreement to boost support for family-run businesses

Updated 7 min 57 sec ago

Al-Jouf principality, Saudi Ministry of Environment sign agreement to boost support for family-run businesses

Al-Jouf Gov. Prince Faisal bin Nawaf witnessed the signing of an agreement, between Al-Jouf principality and the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, that aims to provide greater support to empower small, family-run rural businesses.
The initiative is designed help families in rural areas who are running cottage industries and micro-businesses to improve and sustain their income and standard of living, create self-employment opportunities and transform their projects into competitive entrepreneurial businesses that can withstand market challenges.
The agreement was signed by Mansour Al-Mushaiti, the deputy minister of environment, water and agriculture, and Hussein Al-Sultan, Al-Jouf’s undersecretary, in the presence of Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli, minister of environment, water and agriculture.
The Ministry has launched a number of initiatives designed to contribute to the achievement of sustainable-development goals as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 program of reforms.
It is also supporting the implementation of the National Transformation Program, which aims to achieve sustainable development based on principles such as sustainable economic growth, social development and protection of the environment and natural resources.