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Saudi Arabia to invest $40bn in Artificial Intelligence

March 20, 2024 at 2:48 pm

Artificial Intelligence, AI [Wikipedia]

Saudi Arabia is planning to create a fund of about $40 billion to invest in artificial intelligence (AI) according to a report by the New York Times yesterday, citing three informed sources.

Representatives of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), have discussed a potential partnership with US venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and other financiers in recent weeks, the newspaper reported.

Andreessen Horowitz and PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan have also discussed the possibility of the US firm setting up an office in Riyadh, the report said. Al-Rumayyan has previously spoken of Saudi Arabia’s interest in becoming a hub for AI activity outside the US. He emphasised the kingdom’s “political will” and financial resources to support the development of AI projects.

If the fund proceeds as planned, it would position Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest investor in AI. This initiative would also be in line with the kingdom’s Vision 2030, which seeks to shift the country’s economy away from dependence on oil revenues towards a more diversified information-based economy.

In doing so, Saudi Arabia will have surpassed its previously stated ambition of investing $5.3 billion in AI by 2030, which was announced in 2020 on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Riyadh.

In an interview published by Asharq Al-Awsat today, IBM Chairman and CEO Arvind Krishna said he believes Saudi Arabia is fast emerging as a global leader in the field of AI.

Krishna said his company plans to invest more than $200 billion in talent and infrastructure through the establishment of a new software centre in Riyadh. The centre will work to drive innovation in the fields of data, AI and sustainability programmes, with the aim of accelerating skills development and creating high-quality jobs for young IT professionals in Saudi Arabia, the outlet said.

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