How AI Investments Can Transform the Middle East

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Saudi Arabia reported. $40 billion artificial intelligence (AI) investment fund represents a leap to redefine the role of the Middle East in the global technology landscape.

The fund is part of a trend of Middle Eastern countries scrambling to position themselves as leaders in the global AI race. The massive investment highlights AI’s potential to reshape industries. Fuel economy expansion. A pwc Assessment of the study That by 2030, the Middle East could reap 2% of the total global benefits of AI, amounting to around $320 billion.

“Successful AI development efforts can not only lead to a wave of local creativity and innovation such as new startups, and attract a generation of students to the field, but the resulting prosperity across the board.” Expanding into the region, countering local imbalances and democratizing the knowledge economy. Attract the brightest minds,” geopolitical analyst Irina Sukerman told PYMNTS in an interview.

Regional ambitions

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which boasts more than $900 billion in assets, is in talks with Silicon Valley’s premier venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz to explore possible joint efforts for the initiative. Recently reported. The initiative is part of a broader strategy to diversify the kingdom’s oil-dependent economy and establish itself as a global AI leader, said Bas Koizman, CEO and asset manager. DHF Capitaltold PYMNTS in an interview.

“The fund can promote innovation, attract global tech partnerships, and accelerate the adoption of AI across industries within the region, contributing significantly to Saudi Arabia’s GDP,” he added. can do.”

Saudi Arabia’s investment in AI could act as a catalyst for transformation in the Middle East’s tech ecosystem. Steve BrotmanFounder and Managing Partner of Alpha Partners told PYMNTS in an interview.

“First, the $40 billion injection into AI represents an unprecedented level of commitment to technological development in the region,” he said. “This can lead to the establishment of a strong AI research and development infrastructure, attract world-class talent, foster innovation, and facilitate the creation of innovative startups and AI solutions.

It could encourage other countries within the Middle East to increase their investment in technology and lead to a regional tech boom. It could promote economic diversification, reduce dependence on oil, and make the Middle East AI can position itself as a global contender in the domain.

While United Arab Emirates (UAE) led AI initiatives with world first. Ministry of Artificial Intelligence in 2017Saudi Arabia’s massive investment undercuts other regional efforts, Michael Ashley Shulmanpartner and chief investment officer at Southern California-based Running Point Capital, a multifamily wealth management firm, said in an interview with PYMNTS.

“Saudi Arabia is very forward-looking, and not only wants to not be left behind in AI development, but wants to be a regional and global leader in AI,” he said.

“To do that, they know they have to overdo it as a signal to other investors and tech leaders about how talented they are. AI is expensive; just a half billion or a billion dollars of interest is indicated.” Will do but not move the geographic needle.

The potential impact of AI funding in the Middle East is far-reaching. From risk modeling in banking to image recognition in utilities, adoption of AI is accelerating across enterprise sectors, Pawel Sitalecki, Managing Director Avenga MENAtold PYMNTS.

“These use cases, with promising B2C [business-to-consumer] The applications point to major disruptions across industries, ultimately contributing to economic diversification, new job creation, and potentially significant GDP growth.”

The Middle East is emerging as a player in AI. gave The United Arab Emirates is at the forefront with this. National Artificial Intelligence Strategy 2031 The aim is to position the country as a global AI leader. The government’s focus on AI research, development and deployment in sectors such as healthcare, education and transportation is already yielding results. For example, Dubai has deployed AI-powered traffic management. Systems to improve flow and reduce congestion. Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates recently announced a $500 million AI. investment.

Other countries in the region are also developing. With its vibrant tech ecosystem, Israel is a hotbed of AI innovation, particularly in cybersecurity and autonomous systems. Egypt is focused on AI. Agriculture and smart city development, while countries such as Bahrain and Oman leverage AI to improve financial services and government efficiency.

Overcoming challenges

While the potential for AI in the Middle East is huge, success is still being determined, analysts said. A key hurdle is the region’s need for more skilled AI professionals.

“To become a true AI hub, the Middle East needs significant investment in AI education at all levels, building a sustainable talent pipeline, and fostering an ecosystem of local startups,” said Kooijman. Kooijman said.

Even with all the funding, Tsukerman said Saudi efforts to produce AI chips will likely need to reach out to people in other countries. He noted that the U.S., which is more technologically advanced than the Middle East, needs help attracting qualified professionals to new chip manufacturing initiatives.

Satalecki highlighted the potential for governments to lead innovation: “It’s notable that some of the biggest advances in AI adoption are coming from government agencies in the Middle East. This top-down approach, one of the region’s is a common driver, can accelerate the pace of change compared to purely private-sector-led initiatives.”

International cooperation will be essential to accelerate development. “The Middle East needs to actively import external knowledge and resources at this stage,” Sitalecki suggested. “Partnerships with experienced AI service providers, tech companies and academia can help bridge the gap while building local capabilities for sustainable development.”

AI in the Middle East

Here’s a look at some of the major players in the region:

United Arab Emirates: Besides that Muhammad Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence And Dubai Future FoundationThe UAE has launched several other projects. gave UAE National Program for Artificial Intelligence This includes initiatives such as the AI ​​Lab, which focuses on developing AI solutions for government services, and the AI ​​Ventures program, which provides funding and support for AI startups. The country has also established the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution UAE, in partnership with the World Economic Forum, to explore the impact of AI and other emerging technologies on society and business.

Saudi Arabia: gave Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) has launched several initiatives, including the National Center for AI (NCAI), which conducts research and development in natural language processing, computer vision, and robotics. The country has also established the Saudi Company for Artificial Intelligence (SCAI), a state-owned company aimed at accelerating the commercialization of AI technology. Apart from this, Saudi Arabia has partnered with companies like Huawei will develop AI health care, transportation and energy.

Diameter: Qatar has invested in AI with a focus on education and research. gave Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), part of Hamad bin Khalifa University, conducts research in Arabic language technologies, data analytics and cyber security. Qatar has also established an AI National Strategy, which outlines the country’s vision for AI development, including the establishment of an AI Park to support startups and foster collaboration between industry, academia and government. Initiatives like forming an AI consortium to give

Bahrain: Bahrain has started. Bahrain FinTech Bay, a financial technology and AI innovation hub. The center provides a platform for startups, financial institutions and technology companies to develop AI-powered solutions for the financial sector. Bahrain has also established the Bahrain AI Society, which aims to promote awareness and adoption of AI in various sectors, including healthcare, education and transportation.

Oman: Oman has launched Oman ICT Group, which includes a dedicated AI unit that develops AI applications for government services and industries such as oil and gas, tourism and logistics. Oman has also partnered with companies like Microsoft. AI Center of Excellencewhich provides training and support for AI professionals and startups.

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