Artificial intelligence (AI) could provide a significant economic contribution to the regional economy, a new study has shown.
According to research by consultancy PwC, AI will contribute about $320 billion to the Middle East’s economy by 2030. This is equivalent to 11% of the region’s GDP.
PwC noted that the U.A.E. is poised to gain the most from AI, with the use of technology contributing almost 14% of the country’s GDP by 2030. Saudi Arabia came second with AI expected to contribute about 12.4% while the rest of the GCC countries will see a contribution of 8.2% to their economies. In Egypt, AI is expected to contribute nearly 7.7% by 2030.
The contribution of AI to the economies of the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia are on par with economies in Southern Europe and developed Asia.
The report comes as AI gains traction in the region. Last year, the U.A.E. revealed an artificial intelligence strategy that largely aims to speed up the government’s productivity and improve the performance of all official departments. The country also appointed a minister for artificial intelligence to spearhead the development of its AI strategy.
Within the U.A.E., the emirate of Dubai has been at the forefront of automating processes. Dubai has introduced robo-cops, aiming to transform nearly 25% of its patrolling taskforce to robots by 2030. The emirate has also started testing the world’s first autonomous taxi-pods.
Meanwhile Saudi Arabia recently awarded a robot its citizenship, signaling its willingness to embrace AI as it develops its non-oil economy.
“In the wake of the fourth industrial revolution, governments and businesses across the Middle East are beginning to realize the shift globally towards AI and advanced technologies,” says Richard Boxshall, Senior Economist at PwC Middle East.
“They are faced with a choice between being a part of the technological disruption, or being left behind.”
Boxshall says that the investment in AI technologies could help the region move away from oil, one of its long-term goals.
“The impact on productivity alone will be transformational and disruptive for a region like the Middle East, which faces weak productivity levels.”
Globally, PwC estimates that AI could contribute up to $15.7 trillion by 2030.