Saudi Arabia invests $6.4 billion in cutting-edge technology

Saudi Arabia has announced $6.4 billion in investments in future technologies, according to the Saudi ministry of communication and information technology.

The investment, according to Abdullah Alswaha, is part of the kingdom’s effort to diversify its economy away from oil in the face of severe regional competition.

As climate change activists and oil price volatility have put strain on government finances, wealthy Gulf countries have begun programs to stimulate non-oil growth and lessen reliance on crude oil.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has previously promised that the kingdom will invest hundreds of billions of dollars in an economic overhaul known as Vision 2030.

A $2 billion joint venture between eWTP Arabia Capital, a fund supported by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), and Alibaba, and China’s J&T Express Group was unveiled on Tuesday, according to minister Alswaha.

Saudi Aramco would contribute $1 billion through its Prosperity7 Ventures fund to help entrepreneurs around the world establish revolutionary start-ups, while Saudi Telecom Co (STC) will invest $1 billion in submarine cable and data center infrastructure, he said.

“Right now, the kingdom’s tech and digital market is worth roughly $40 billion, making it the region’s largest by far.” In an interview with Reuters, Alswaha said, “We’re very proud of the growth that we’ve seen in the region, particularly in areas like e-commerce, gaming, digital content, and cloud.”

The minister, addressing on the sidelines of LEAP, an international technology platform in Riyadh, said Aramco Prosperity7’s effort will focus on green technologies, while J&T Express Group’s joint venture will construct a smart hub for the region that will increase efficiency by up to 100%.

According to Alswaha, NEOM, the crown prince’s futuristic megacity on the Red Sea coast, has invested $1 billion in a metaverse to serve the city’s residents and tourists, as well as another platform to enable people take control of their personal data.

“We estimate a minimum of another 100,000 to 250,000 employment over the next eight years,” he said, “essentially doubling the number of coders that we have today, in some cases tripling (the number).”

The government also plans to invest $1.4 billion in entrepreneurship and distribute funding to foster digital content, including a project called The Garage, which would house start-ups specializing in new technologies in Riyadh’s capital.

“Third parties have examined and corroborated all of the numbers.” “We’re not in the business of spectacle; we’re in the business of committing and delivering,” the minister reiterated.

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