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Saudi Arabia launched a host of technology initiatives worth SR4 billion ($1.06 billion) directed at upskilling the 100,000 Saudi digital talents in line with Saudi Vision 2030, according to state news agency report.

The announcement was made at the Launch event organized by the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones (SAFCSP) along with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), and the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA).

Several multinational corporations have announced their interest to partner with the Kingdom to create digital capability centers and innovation hubs for tech startups.

Minister of Communications and Information Technology Eng. Abdullah Al-Sawaha unveiled the first Saudi-made smart chip to be used in military, civil and commercial applications.

The report quoted the head of the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority Abdullah Al-Ghamdi as saying that Saudi Arabia aims to be one of the top 5 countries globally in AI and requires 25,000 specialists’ jobs in data science and AI before 2030.

MCIT has established the National Technology Development Program with a budget of SR2.5 billion with the goal of making the Kingdom the world’s leading technology country.

The program launched its early products, Financial Security, to strengthen trust between tech companies and financial entities, as well as the SME loan guarantee program, Kafalah, which aims to provide up to 90 percent insurance of the financing value and with a volume of SR15million.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Chinese eWTP Arabia Capital fund with $400m capital, which seeks to support technology startups in the Kingdom, was also unveiled at the Launch event. This investment came along after Alibaba Cloud chose Riyadh as its regional center for management and training, with investments amounting to $500m over five years in the region.

Also read: Saudi ICT sector set to exceed $27bn by 2025, says CITC gov

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