The localization of the AI revolution by Saudi Arabia is a journey launched in 2019 and growing stronger each day.
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Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the business and career landscape worldwide; countries and companies are already competing for leadership and dominance.
The U.S. and China are predicted to account for about 70% of the global economic impact of AI by 2030.
This number doesn’t seem to intimidate Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, especially in the GCC, from entering the competition.
The estimated economic impact of AI in the Middle East by 2030 is $320 billion, of which $135.2 billion is expected to accrue to Saudi Arabia.
“The annual growth in the contribution of AI is expected to range between 20 and 34% per year across the region, with the fastest growth in the UAE, followed by Saudi Arabia.” Quoted from PWC.
In this blog, we explore the efforts of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in leading this movement in the Middle East, the Arab World, and internationally.
Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030
Advanced technology is at the heart of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. In fact, the Saudi government estimates that achieving 66 of its 2030 Vision objectives is directly tied to the development and deployment of AI-powered applications.
The core of the 2030 Vision is to propel Saudi Arabia towards a more diversified, sustainable, and knowledge-driven economy, ultimately improving the well-being and opportunities of its citizens.
Let’s dive into some objectives and how AI can help achieve them.
1- Diversifying the economy
The KSA is striving to reduce its usage of oil and its exports as its ultimate source of revenue. One of its efforts in this field is its transformation into an AI powerhouse, attracting $20 billion in foreign and local investments by 2030 and harvesting AI-oriented entrepreneurs and businesses.
2- Increasing Employment and Job Opportunities
Saudi Arabia is determined to future-proof its workforce against potential AI threats by investing in growing tech-oriented talents.
It has already started training and developing a pool of 20,000 AI and data specialists by 2030.
3- Developing the Private Sector
By launching its “National Strategy for Data and Artificial Intelligence” in October 2020, Saudi Arabia is anticipated to secure a 31.3% share of the technology’s growth between 2018 and 2030 in terms of average annual growth in its contribution by region, according to the PwC report.
4- Improving Education and Training
Saudi Arabia is nurturing homegrown talents by promoting AI competitions and “hackathons” and encouraging its researchers and students to tackle AI-related challenges to gain valuable hands-on experience.
It is also in the process of establishing the International Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research and Ethics in Riyadh.
Advancing technological infrastructure, strengthening social protection and healthcare, improving quality of life, and empowering women in the workforce are all on the list of objectives of the 2030 Vision.
The National Strategy for Data and AI (NSDAI)
Since its launch in 2020, it has ushered in the most significant regulatory development impacting the emerging tech ecosystem in Saudi Arabia.
Upon it, the Kingdom established the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) and its three sub-entities
- The National Centre for AI (NCAI)
- The National Data Management Office (NDMO)
- The National Information Centre (NIC)
SDAIA, in partnership with the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology (MCIT), led the G20’s Digital Economy Task Force and guided the Kingdom’s response to COVID-19 through the launch of apps such as ‘Tawakkalna’ and ‘Tabaud’.
The (NSDAI) has 6 main pillars:
- Ambition: to place Saudi Arabia amongst the top 15 countries in the development and application of AI by 2030
- Skills: to train more than 20,000 data and AI specialists and experts by 2030.
- Partnerships: with leading AI countries, international organizations, and private sector institutions.
- Investments: of over USD 20 billion in Data and AI
- Regulation: to foster a business-friendly regulatory environment based on international best practices.
- Ecosystem: more than 300 active data and AI start-ups hosted in the Kingdom by 2030, and world-class regulatory sandboxes for the development and deployment of AI-powered technology.
Smart City Initiative in Riyadh
In an attempt to achieve its 2030 vision, improve the quality of life, and transform the capital, Riyadh, into a smart city, Saudi Arabia is integrating AI-driven solutions to enhance urban planning, infrastructure, and public services.
✅ AI-powered traffic management systems dynamically regulate traffic flow, alleviating congestion during peak hours.
✅ Predictive analytics assist in resource allocation for services like waste management and energy consumption.
✅ The employment of AI-enabled public safety measures, utilizing real-time data to enhance emergency response times and ensure citizen security.
Neom is another visionary project unfolding in Saudi Arabia, and it will be a huge step for Humankind.
AI-Powered Healthcare at King Faisal Specialist Hospital
This premier healthcare institution is embracing AI to revolutionize patient care across the Kingdom.
By employing cutting-edge AI algorithms it is empowering its healthcare providers to detect (through swift and accurate diagnoses) and treat diseases at earlier stages, significantly improving patient outcomes.
Its utilization of AI-driven predictive analytics is optimizing patient flow, ensuring timely access to care, and reducing waiting times.
The hospital also wanted to enhance patient engagement and streamline administrative processes, so it integrated AI-powered chatbots.
Eurisko Hand in hand with Saudi Arabia
To achieve its ambitious vision, Saudi Arabia is building strategic partnerships with countries and business entities that have the knowledge, experience, expertise, and skilled workforce.
Since its foundation in 2010, Eurisko has accumulated more than a decade of experience and introduced next-gen technologies to the Middle East.
Our presence in Silicon Valley, U.S., serves us in terms of industry updates and research, and our physical operating offices in Lebanon, KSA, UAE, and Cyprus help us operate closely with all the GCC countries.
We assisted many leading Saudi companies like MBC Group, in leveraging advanced technologies to create new revenue streams and engage a wider audience.
Eurisko Academy is also ready to contribute to the skilling up of Saudi youth and the workforce in the fields of AI, programming languages, and tech development.
Localizing the AI revolution in the Arab World is in good hands as it perfectly matches the historic role of Saudi Arabia in leading the region on many levels.
Bringing AI innovation, not only its consumption will propel local societies forward as well as diversify and enhance our economies.
Eurisko couldn’t be happier to see this innovative scene unfolding in front of its eyes while proudly contributing to it through its services, products, and Academy.