I recently received an invitation to attend the Future of Semiconductors Forum, a specialized gathering addressing the growth potential and challenges facing this critically important sector for humanity.
As some may know, semiconductor technology is the physical foundation of the Third and Fourth Industrial Revolutions. It is crucial for numerous applications, including artificial intelligence, renewable energy, data storage, sensors, communication and lighting. So, given the strategic importance of semiconductor technologies globally and the emerging opportunities for transformative impacts in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, the Ministry of Investment, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and the Research, Development and Innovation Authority teamed up to organize the second Future of Semiconductors Forum to discuss the localization of electronic chips and strengthening of the digital economy sector in Saudi Arabia.
Minister of Investment Khaled Al-Faleh gave the first keynote speech, highlighting the Kingdom’s strategic intent to enter the semiconductor production space as part of its range of investments in relevant education and research programs. Furthermore, the Saudi government is being proactive in developing and onboarding this vital industry to benefit the Kingdom and the world.
The Saudi government is being proactive in developing and onboarding this vital industry to benefit the Kingdom and the world
Dr. Munir El-Desouki, president of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, gave another keynote speech. He highlighted his organization’s experience and leadership role in developing the semiconductor industry in the Kingdom, including the heavy investment the government has made in acquiring the state-of-the-art facilities and equipment required to develop this industry. And Dr. Tony Chan, president of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, emphasized the role the university has played in active research and development for the semiconductor industry globally.
It is worth noting that this was the first participation of the newly created Research, Development and Innovation Authority, which is a solid commitment by the government to support innovations in the Kingdom.
This was my first time attending such a specialized high-tech forum, but I am no stranger to semiconductors. I was keen to participate and accept the kind invitation because we at BMG have decided to advise international companies with a strategic intent to partner with local stakeholders and bring their expertise and know-how to the Kingdom. As a case in point, we are working with a leading international company to sign a memorandum of understanding with a government entity early next month.
The Kingdom will implement a national strategic plan for advanced manufacturing and technological capability, with the goals of involving organizations aligned with the Saudi vision. There are many benefits to localizing semiconductor technology capabilities in diverse sectors, such as the digital economy, the automotive industry, AI manufacturing, renewable energy, and defense.
• Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini is the chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group.