Saudi Arabia announces $6.4 billion investment in future technologies By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Alswaha attends a session during the annual meeting of the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland January 23, 2020. REUTERS / Denis Balibouse

By Aziz El Yaakoubi

RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has launched investments worth $6.4 billion in future technologies, Saudi Arabia’s minister of information and communications technology said on Tuesday, as the kingdom is striving to diversify its oil economy in the face of fierce regional competition.

Rich Gulf countries have launched initiatives to boost non-oil growth and reduce reliance on climate change activists and oil price volatility that have strained public finances.

The kingdom has already announced that it is injecting hundreds of billions of dollars into an economic transformation, known as Vision 2030, led by its de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Investments announced on Tuesday include a $2 billion joint venture between eWTP Arabia Capital, a fund backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Ali Baba (NYSE:) and Chinese group J&T Express, Minister Abdullah Alswaha said.

Saudi oil giant Aramco (SE:) will inject $1 billion through its Prosperity7 Ventures fund to help entrepreneurs around the world build transformative start-ups, while Saudi Telecom Co (STC) will invest $1 billion in submarine cable infrastructure and data centers, he says.

“At present, the technology and digital market in the kingdom is around $40 billion, which is by far the largest in the region. We are very proud of the growth we have seen in the region, particularly in the areas of e-commerce, gaming, digital content and cloud,” Alswaha said in an interview with Reuters.

The minister, who was speaking on the sidelines of LEAP, an international technology platform taking place in Riyadh, said Armaco’s Prosperity7 initiative will focus on green technologies while logistics company J&T’s joint venture Express Group will build a smart hub for the region which will improve efficiency. up to 100%.

Alswaha said NEOM, a futuristic megacity the crown prince is building on the Red Sea coast, has launched $1 billion in investment in a metaverse to serve the city’s residents and visitors, in addition to a another platform that would help users take control of their personal data.

“We expect over the next eight years a minimum of 100,000 to 250,000 additional jobs, which will effectively mean doubling the number of coders we have today, in some cases tripling (the number),” he said. -he declares.

The government also expects $1.4 billion to be spent on entrepreneurship and allocated to funds to support digital content, including an initiative known as The Garage, a space in the capital Riyadh that will host start-ups specializing in new technologies.

“All numbers…are verified and validated by third parties. Again, we are not in the business of staging, we are in the business of engagement and delivery,” the minister said.

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