May 23, 2024

Saudi Arabia Takes Center Stage at Davos, Aiming to Transform into the Leading AI Tech Hub in the Middle East

Last Updated on March 19, 2024 by Ola Precious Akinkuolie

Due in part to its lax immigration regulations, absence of personal income tax, and attractive incentives for foreign companies and workers, the UAE has long been the region’s preferred hub for technology. However, as shown on the Davos Promenade this year, Saudi Arabia is determined to steal some of the spotlight and talent from its neighbor on the Arabian Peninsula.

Exploring Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 through Neom, AlUla, and MiSK Foundation

The Saudi delegation made a big impression on the main street of the city. They set up a large storefront to promote Neom, a new urban development in northwest Saudi Arabia. They also set up an area for the AlUla project, a project that is a part of the kingdom’s efforts to turn the heritage city into a popular tourist destination worldwide. The setup also included a pop-up for the Saudi Crown Prince’s Foundation, MiSK, and its youth ambassadors, known as “majlis,” and two more Saudi chalets. All of this is a component of the nation’s economic diversification goal, Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

One of the promenade’s most notable exhibits of the year, the Neom exhibition aims to highlight the development’s potential as a destination for luxury living, tourism, and innovation.

Speaking with CNBC, a Neom representative explained that the increased visibility was meant to inform the investing community about the project and signal that it was “open for business.” 

At the World Economic Forum, the nation’s finance minister, Mohammed al-Jadaan, reaffirmed this, noting that the country has significantly diversified into industries like as tourism, technology, and logistics, with the percentage of GDP coming from oil having decreased from 70% to 30–35%.

His comments come as plans are being made for a special World Economic Forum to be held in Riyadh in April as part of a larger project to raise the kingdom’s profile internationally. Al-Jadaan expressed confidence in the kingdom’s capacity to reduce the gap between the two, highlighting Riyadh’s tight connections with China and strategic ties with the United States.

KSA’s Trillion-Dollar Milestone: A Closer Look at the Tech-Driven Future

For the first time, the Saudi economy has surpassed the $1 trillion mark. According to data from the World Bank, the UAE’s economy is half that size, at just over $500 billion. 

Regardless of this, the UAE has a considerable advantage because hundreds of millions of dollars are invested in its Advanced Research Technology Centers, which include hubs for generative artificial intelligence, cyber, quantum, and biotech. However, the monarchy is also heavily investing in its goals to become a tech hub.

Saudi Arabia’s Push for Talent and Innovation

While the flashy megacities being built in the desert are the focus of most of the buzz around MBS’s large investments, local experts expressed that that is really a sideshow to the company’s main goal, which is to draw talent to fuel an AI value generation cycle.

A UCLA mathematician founded the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, or KAUST, with the goal of bringing top talent to the nation to fuel this innovation. 

According to KAUST, it supports Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 ambition to dominate the world in AI. Through partnerships, a focus on the National AI Strategy, assistance for startups, AI-powered government services, Riyadh’s ICAIRE, and Saudi Aramco’s AI research center, the institution is making progress. The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority is in charge of the SDAIA AI Center, which is hosted by KAUST and supported by its AI Initiative.


Saudi Arabia’s determination to establish itself as the premier technology hub in the Middle East is evident in its strong presence at Davos. Projects such as Neom, AlUla, and the MiSK Foundation showcase the country’s commitment to economic diversification, as stated in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.

precious akinkuolie

Introducing Ola Precious Akinkuolie, a dynamic professional with over three years of enriching experience in the branding and marketing sector. Ola is characterized by a relentless work ethic and a keen sensibility for the aesthetic elements of branding. Her expertise lies in enhancing the visual and strategic aspects of marketing, making every brand she touches not only visually compelling but also strategically sound.

At, Ola is our go-to expert for insights that blend the beauty of design with the efficiency of marketing strategies. Her approach is deeply rooted in creating content and strategies that are impactful, memorable, and aesthetically pleasing. Ola’s mission is to drive success for our clients by offering a unique perspective that harmonizes the form and function of their brands. Stay tuned as she shares innovative strategies and tips to navigate and excel in the ever-evolving landscape of marketing.

Read Previous

Key Technology Trends Set to Shape the Future 2024

Read Next

Smart Cities and IoT in the Middle East

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular