RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has invested $6.4 billion in future technologies, the Kingdom’s information technology minister Abdullah Al-Swaha told delegates at LEAP 2022.
Speaking from the stage at the forum in Riyadh, Al-Swaha set out how the money was flowing from companies in the Kingdom into the sector:
- Saudi Aramco - $1 billion invested in developing start-ups, through entrepreneurship support fund Prosperity7 Ventures.
- NEOM Tech & Digital Holding Company - $1billion in future technologies and the launch of M3LD and XVRS products
- Ignite - $1 billion in quality funds and initiatives to support and stimulate digital content.
- stc - $1 billion in Mena Hub, which seeks investments in the digital infrastructure to consolidate Saudi Arabia's position as a hub for connectivity, communication and cloud computing.
- J&T Express, and eWTP Arabia Capital - $2 billion in the smart logistics sector in the region.
- There was also more than $300 million of investments in digital entrepreneurship, venture capital and startup funds
Reflecting on homegrown advances, the minister hailed the Kingdom’s start-up ‘unicorns’ — firms which have gone on to achieve a market value of at least $1 billion — saying that of the six such companies in the past two years, two are from Saudi Arabia: stc pay and Jahez.
Talking up established Saudi companies, Alswaha said: “When we’re talking about the future tech, you’re talking about the only company in the region that have pledged a billion dollars towards the future of tech, cognitive AI solutions: Neom Tech and Digital.
“When we’re talking about…we can consume this kind of technology for the planet and the people, you’re talking about the largest tech and digital customer on the face of the earth: Aramco.
“They are leveraging talent and technology to sustain innovation within the energy sector to become number one in maintaining the lowest uplift costs when it comes to extracting oil, but more importantly pivoting to climate tech and green tech to make sure that we also have the lowest carbon intensity and cleanest activities.”
Al-Swaha also set out how global tech firms including Apple, Microsoft, and Google are making their presence felt in Saudi Arabia.