Tech giants invest $9b in KSA; New VARA regs
Middle East AI News weekly news digest...
Here’s your weekly Middle East AI News! There’s so much tech news coming from the region this week, that it’s been impossible to track!
Saudi Arabia’s second edition of its technology mega event, LEAP23, stole the headlines this week, with $9 billion in tech investment being announced on day one and dozens of MoUs being publicised. I may yet do a comprehensive list of announcements at LEAP, but the prospect is daunting. It’s just been impossible to track (and no, chatGPT and co. have been no help in this!).
Perhaps the two biggest takeaways from LEAP23 this week are i) the massive current and future growth in public cloud services in Saudi Arabia and ii) how fast the Kingdom’s venture capital ecosystem is ramping up. Money is not everything, but the billions of startup funding announced at the event show clearly how serious the country is about building a tech startup ecosystem. If the funding is available, many other things should fall into place.
In other news, Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) has announced the keenly awaited new regulations for the virtual asset sector. Also, U.S.-Israeli drone services company Airobotics has announced a $3.5 million order and joint venture with Abu Dhabi-based SkyGo to roll out commercial drone services during the next few weeks.
Thanks for reading!
Saudi Arabia says tech giants to invest more than $9 billion in kingdom
#Saudi #LEAP23 - Saudi Arabia attracted more than $9 billion in investments in future technologies, according to comments from the Saudi Minister of Communication and Information Technology Abdullah Alswaha on the opening day of LEAP23. Microsoft and Oracle are building new cloud regions. (Reuters)
Microsoft, Huawei and Oracle among $9bn of tech deals
#Saudi #LEAP23 - Saudi Arabia witnessed the signing of $9 billion worth of investment contracts on the first day of LEAP23. Deals include Microsoft’s $2.1 billion investment in super-wide cloud, while Oracle is investing $1.5 billion to establish a new cloud region. (Arab News)
Oracle to invest $1.5bn in Saudi Arabia
#Saudi #LEAP23 - Oracle announced plans to invest $1.5 billion in Saudi Arabia at LEAP, expand its existing Jeddah public cloud region and open a new public cloud region in Riyadh. According to the company, the investment will help Oracle meet the unprecedented acceleration of, and demand for, cloud computing. (Arab News)
Microsoft intends to expand Saudi cloud regions
#Saudi #LEAP23 - Microsoft intends to invest in a new cloud datacenter region in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as part of the company’s continued efforts to empower public and private organisations with intelligent, trusted, enterprise-grade cloud services. (Microsoft)
Saudi Arabia announces billions more in funding to support start-ups
#Saudi #LEAP23 - Saudi entities have announced billions in funding and a programme that aim to scale start-ups as it seeks to create a competitive technology ecosystem. Nine funds worth a combined $2.4 billion will support the growth of Saudi start-ups according to the CEO of Jeddah-based Blossom Accelerator speaking at LEAP. (The National)
Saudi firms among global leaders in adopting cutting edge tech
#Saudi #digitaltransformation - Saudi organisations are demonstrating they are not risk averse in adopting tech at the cutting edge, and in some cases are moving farther and faster than their peers, according to a report by KPMG. Download the full PDF report. (Arab News)
McKinsey launches AI subsidiary in Middle East
#Egypt #Saudi #UAE #consultancy - McKinsey & Company has launched its QuantumBlack subsidiary in the Middle East, opening for business from the firm’s offices in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. QuantumBlack has a global team of 1,200-strong team. (Consultancy ME)
G42 to hire across Asia for $10 billion fund
#UAE #funds - G42, the Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence company, is hiring dozens of people across Asia to scout for opportunities for its $10 billion tech fund, according to Bloomberg sources. The story says that it intends to build up teams in Singapore, Jakarta, Shanghai and Tel Aviv. (Bloomberg)
TII Infrared Tracking Challenge to usher in new era of AVs
#UAE #AVs - Technology Innovation Institute (TII), Abu Dhabi's applied research center, and crowdsourcing platform HeroX, today launched the crowdsourcing competition, the TII Infrared Tracking Challenge. The Challenge offers $75,000 in prize money for approaches to effectively track objects in low-light conditions. (Yahoo! News)
SDAIA opens data and privacy sandbox
#Saudi #privacy - Saudi Data & Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA), has announced a new Data and Privacy Sandbox. SDAIA is to bring SMEs in the regtech space to the sandbox to test their solutions and the implications of the upcoming Personal Data Protection Law (PDPL) on their products and services. (SDAIA)
Dubai’s virtual assets watchdog issues regulations
#UAE #virtualassets - Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (Vara) has issued regulations governing the expected level of operator responsibility for virtual assets, to mitigate market risks. VARA aims to provide gold-standard risk assurance and anti-money laundering standards for Dubai licensed businesses. Download via VARA homepage. (The National)
KPMG launches CoE for metaverse and digital twins
#Saudi #LEAP23 - KPMG Saudi Arabia announced the opening of a centre of excellence for metaverse and digital twins at LEAP23. The services firm has also allocated a dedicated co-investment fund for metaverse use-cases in Saudi Arabia to work together with public and private partners. (Gulf Business)
Tech Mahindra to open Data, AI & Cloud Center of Excellence in KSA
#Saudi #India#CoEs - Indian IT consulting firm Tech Mahindra has signed an MoU with Saudi's Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT), to establish a Data & AI and a Cloud Centre of Excellence in Riyadh. (Zawya)
UAE prime minister asks for study on ChatGPT
#UAE #chatGPT - The UAE Cabinet has asked the authorities concerned to assess new AI technologies such as ChatGPT and how the government can use them safely. (Khaleej Times)
Ministry of Labour innovates nationalisation AI model
#Qatar #aimodels - Qatar's Ministry of Labour, in partnership with United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), Microsoft, and PwC Middle East, has announced that its Technical Office has created an innovative AI algorithm/model that will serve the country's nationalisation program. (Microsoft)
SDAIA and NVIDIA sign MoU for future supercomputers
#Saudi #LEAP23 - The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) and NVIDIA signed an MoU during LEAP to plan a multi-year program to install a platform of super computers. The platform will power the development of NLP and computer vision systems. (SPA)
Airobotics announces $3.5 million order and joint venture with SkyGo
#UAE #dronedelivery - Airobotics received a multi-system purchase order worth $3.5 milion from SkyGo, a UAE-based company with licence to provide air transport of goods through drones throughout Abu Dhabi. The two firms have formed a new joint venture. (Yahoo! News)
Abu Dhabi, Singapore deepen cooperation with smart city pilots
#UAE #Singapore #smartcities - Six Singapore companies have been matched with Abu Dhabi entities to develop and pilot innovative solutions following the Abu Dhabi – Singapore Smart Cities Open Innovation Challenge, jointly organised by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), Enterprise Singapore (EnterpriseSG) and IPI Singapore. (Emirates News Agency)
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