Saudi Arabia commits to AI, industrial revolution in meet with Italian experts

Saudi Arabia commits to AI, industrial revolution in meet with Italian experts
An illustration of Neom, which will be built in Saudi Arabia’s Tabuk province. (Neom.com)
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Updated 23 June 2021

Saudi Arabia commits to AI, industrial revolution in meet with Italian experts

Saudi Arabia commits to AI, industrial revolution in meet with Italian experts
  • Saudi tech leaders tell roundtable meeting that they have big ambitions for AI industry
  • Upcoming megaprojects such as NEOM will provide testing ground for AI

ROME: Saudi Arabia has committed to become a global leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI) during a roundtable discussion with Italian technology experts.

In the discussion on Tuesday, the Kingdom committed to becoming a dominant force in the field within the next eight years, in line with the Saudi Vision 2030 reform plans, and reaffirmed its interest in cooperating with Italy.

Robotics and AI were the main themes of the virtual roundtable, which was organized by the Saudi Center for International Strategic Partnerships, the Italian Embassy in Riyadh and the ICE Agenzia (The Italian Trade Commission), in collaboration with the Association Of Italian Manufacturers of Machine Tools, Robots, Automation Systems and Ancillary Products (UCIMU), the Italian Institute of Technology, and the Polytechnic Institute of Turin.

Saudi Arabia was represented by the Supervisor of the National Center for AI at the Saudi Data and AI Authority (SDAIA), Majed Al-Tuwaijri; the CEO of the National Industrial Development & Logistic Program, Suliman Al-Mazroua; the advisor to the Deputy Ministry of Industry and Mining Resources and head of the Industry 4.0 program, Dr. Majed A. Al-Gwaiz.

The Scientific Director of the Italian Institute of Technology Prof. Giorgio Motta, the President of UCIMU-Sistemi Per Produrre Dr. Barbara Colombo, and the director of the Hub for AI at the Polytechnic Institute of Turin, Prof. Barbara Caputo, represented the Italian side.

Saudi speakers said that the Kingdom has a strong foundation for its AI ambitions, based on the country’s assets and its position as an investment powerhouse. They added that the Kingdom also boasts a young population and the desire for large-scale programs.

Upcoming Saudi megaprojects, such as NEOM and smart cities, will provide a testing ground for advanced AI.

The speakers recalled that the SDAIA and Saudi G20 Secretariat organized the Global AI Summit in 2020, which provided the world’s premier platform for dialogue to shape the future of AI.

Saudi Arabia used the occasion to reveal its National Strategy for Data and AI, which aims to attract $20 billion in foreign and local investments by 2030.

Saudi speakers stressed that in relation to Industry 4.0, Saudi Arabia intends to attract expertise and encourage partnerships and investments to achieve the digital transformation of the industrial sector.

The Saudi Embassy in Rome said in a statement that the Kingdom plans to support the industrial revolution by implementing projects through investments of $453 million and allocations of $2.5 billion for the construction of digital infrastructure in the industry, mining, logistics, healthcare and energy sectors.

The main objectives are to increase the number of facilities able to benefit from the Industry 4.0 incentives from 10 in 2021 to 43 in 2025 and the development of four specialized centers for advancing new technology.

The Kingdom will also spend $800 million to convert 100 factories, with support guaranteed by the Saudi Industrial Development Fund.


Pakistan’s Imran Khan arrives in Saudi Arabia for Middle East green initiative summit

Pakistan’s Imran Khan arrives in Saudi Arabia for Middle East green initiative summit
Updated 1 min 34 sec ago

Pakistan’s Imran Khan arrives in Saudi Arabia for Middle East green initiative summit

Pakistan’s Imran Khan arrives in Saudi Arabia for Middle East green initiative summit
  • Libyan president and Morocco’s prime minister also arrived in Riyadh to attend the regional summit
  • The inaugural summit will see world leaders and representatives gather on Monday to define green policy solutions

RIYADH: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and his accompanying delegation arrived in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on Sunday, to participate in the Middle East Green Initiative Summit.
Khan was received at King Khalid International Airport by Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman, acting governor of Riyadh, and other Saudi officials.
The inaugural summit will see world leaders and representatives gather on Monday to examine green policy solutions to climate challenges, as part of a regional initiative launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman earlier this year.

Later on Sunday, Chairman of the Libyan Presidential Council Mohamed Al-Menfi, Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch, and Tunisian Prime Minister Najla Bouden also arrived at King Khalid International Airport and were received by Prince Mohammed bin Abdulrahman.
The Middle East Green Initiative aims to apply a number of ambitious programs that will reduce carbon emissions by 60 percent in the region and plant 50 billion trees in the world’s biggest afforestation project.


Saudi Arabia registers 2 COVID-19 deaths, 47 new infections

Saudi Arabia registers 2 COVID-19 deaths, 47 new infections
Updated 24 October 2021

Saudi Arabia registers 2 COVID-19 deaths, 47 new infections

Saudi Arabia registers 2 COVID-19 deaths, 47 new infections
  • Ministry of Interior records 824 violations against precautionary measures in the past week
  • Municipalities close three businesses and issue fines to 500 others for violating precautionary measures

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia confirmed two new COVID-19 related deaths on Sunday, raising the total number of fatalities to 8,778.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 47 new cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 548,252 people have now contracted the disease. Of the total number of cases, 79 remain in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 13, followed by Jeddah with nine, Makkah with four, and Madinah recorded three cases.
The health ministry also announced that 36 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 537,282.
Over 45.2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the Kingdom’s immunization campaign started. More than 21.1 million people have been fully vaccinated.


Saudi authorities continued their monitoring campaigns to ensure compliance with the precautionary measures imposed to stem the spread of the disease.
The Ministry of Interior reported 824 violations in the past week, compared to 22,746 the previous week. The highest number of breaches was recorded in Riyadh with 344, followed by Makkah with 298, Madinah with 59, and the Eastern Province with 56. Al-Jawf recorded the lowest number of violations with three.
The ministry called on citizens and residents to abide by the preventive protocols and the instructions issued by authorities in this regard.
Saudi municipalities have also ramped up efforts to monitor compliance with health and safety measures.
The municipality of the Eastern Province carried out 8,872 inspection tours of commercial centers and facilities during the past week. Authorities found 475 violations and closed three businesses for not adhering to the precautionary measures.
Rafha Municipality in the Northern Borders Province also carried out 280 inspection tours of commercial centers and facilities during the last week and authorities issued fines to 25 commercial outlets for breaching protocols.
Officials have also called on the public to report any suspected health breaches by phoning the 940 call center number or contacting authorities through the Balady app.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 244 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 4.96 million.


Saudi Arabia to extend residency, visitor visas

Saudi Arabia to extend residency, visitor visas
Updated 24 October 2021

Saudi Arabia to extend residency, visitor visas

Saudi Arabia to extend residency, visitor visas
  • The foreign ministry said visas would be automatically extended until Nov. 30 without any charge

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced on Sunday it will extend residency and visitor visas for people still unable to reach the Kingdom due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The foreign ministry said visas would be automatically extended until Nov. 30 without any charge.
The ministry said the move, which was done in cooperation with the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (National Information Center), the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Interior, comes as part of the Saudi government’s efforts to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.
The ministry added that the beneficiaries have been notified of the extension via email, which includes an attached e-visa form.


King Salman to head Saudi Arabia’s delegation at G20 meeting in Italy

King Salman to head Saudi Arabia’s delegation at G20 meeting in Italy
Updated 24 October 2021

King Salman to head Saudi Arabia’s delegation at G20 meeting in Italy

King Salman to head Saudi Arabia’s delegation at G20 meeting in Italy
  • The decision comes in response to an invitation from Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman is set to head the Kingdom’s delegation at the annual G20 summit in the Italian capital, Rome, next week, state news agency SPA reported on Sunday.
The king’s decision to head the delegation virtually comes “in response to the kind invitation received by King Salman from Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi to attend the G20 Leaders’ Summit to be held on Oct. 30-31,” the statement said.
“The Kingdom expresses its appreciation for the efforts made by Italy to ensure the work of the G20 presidency succeeds this year through joint collective action,” it added.
As a member of the group’s Troika, Saudi Arabia also reaffirmed its keenness to continue efforts to make the summit a success.
The current members of the Troika include Saudi Arabia, former president of the G20, Italy, the current president and Indonesia, next year’s president.


Saudi and US officials discuss climate change initiatives

Saudi and US officials discuss climate change initiatives
Updated 24 October 2021

Saudi and US officials discuss climate change initiatives

Saudi and US officials discuss climate change initiatives

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir on Sunday met with the US envoy for climate, John Kerry, on the sidelines of the Saudi Green Initiative forum, which is being held in the capital, Riyadh.
During the meeting, they discussed the Kingdom’s efforts to confront climate change and the qualitative initiatives it has launched to protect the planet and nature. 
The two sides also discussed regional and international developments of common interest. the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said.