On Thursday, Saudi Arabia announced it would invest $20 billion in artificial intelligence projects by 2030, as the oil-rich nation tries to diversify its economy in the midst of slumping crude prices.

As part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious “Vision 2030” initiative to wean the kingdom from oil, the kingdom, the Arab world’s largest economy, unveiled an artificial intelligence strategy last month to draw investors.

Abdullah al-Ghamdi, head of the Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority, which was formed in 2019, said, “Saudi Arabia will invest $20 billion from now until 2030,”

Through start-ups and innovation firms, we strive to have artificial intelligence as a component of an alternative economy… and see artificial intelligence as a source of savings and additional revenue,”We aspire to have artificial intelligence as a component of an alternative economy through startups and innovation companies and view artificial intelligence as a source of savings and extra revenue.”

Ghamdi added that both foreign and local investors will be open to shares, as the country aims to develop more than 300 artificial intelligence start-ups by 2030.

Saudi Arabia has been seeking to diversify its economy, which has been struck by the double whammy of low oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic, like other nations in the energy-rich Gulf.

Riyadh is struggling to finance the ambitious diversification strategy of Prince Mohammed, as it tries to restore its reputation within the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The weekend G20 summit in Riyadh is scheduled to bring together the leaders of the 20 richest nations in the world, but has been overshadowed by calls for the kingdom to free detained activists from human rights organisations.


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