Saudi Arabia Seeks to Become Global Hub for AI, PIF Governor Says

Saudi Arabia Seeks to Become Global Hub for AI, PIF Governor Says

Public Investment Fund (PIF) Governor, Chairman of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) Institute, and Chairman of Saudi Aramco’s Board of Directors Yasir Al-Rumayyan said that the FII focuses on several key sectors, primarily sustainability, education, healthcare, artificial intelligence (AI), and robotics and has invested in several companies operating in these sectors and established partnerships with research, academic and consulting institutions to support these goals.

Delivering a speech at the FII PRIORITY summit in Miami, Al-Rumayyan explained that the initiative will expand its global presence in the coming period by organizing events in Brazil and Kenya to enhance links and investment opportunities with markets in Latin America and Africa and discuss issues such as environmental protection and the transition towards renewable energy.

He also addressed the PIF’s strategy, saying that more than 70% of its investments are local and directed towards the Kingdom's economy, while the public share of international investments has declined to less than 25%.

Al-Rumayyan also explained that PIF investments mainly target new sectors under its goal to make a long-term impact by being the economic driver of the transformation journey within the Saudi Vision 2030, which is distinguished from other international strategic plans by its success in achieving many of its goals before their set timelines.

“The fund invests between $40 billion to $50 billion annually and this will continue until 2025, and we look at our investments in the Kingdom with regard to their impact on the gross domestic product, job creation, and local content increase, and we are looking forward to increase local revenues generated from investments as per the framework to create sustainable impact on the Saudi economy and realize the targets of the Saudi Vision 2030,” he said.

On the fund's international investments, Al-Rumyyan said that their value continues to rise in terms of volume despite a decline in their percentage compared to local investments, pointing out that investments in the U.S. market amount to 40% of the fund's total international investments in the form of investments or purchases, which amounted to more than $100 billion between 2017 and the end of 2023.

The PIF governor stressed that Saudi Arabia is well positioned to be a major global hub for AI and related industries, explaining that it has many competitive advantages to achieve this goal, including its leadership in clean energy resources, political will, funding capabilities, and human competencies.

The Aramco chairman also discussed the priority that the company gives to sustainability issues, saying that it is the most sustainable of all oil producers in the world, with the amount of carbon produced per barrel of oil not exceeding 25% of what other companies produce. He also said that Aramco has 12 research-and-development centers around the world to work on clean energy technology.

Aramco and the PIF are interested in blue hydrogen, he said, adding that the Kingdom aims to provide 15% of blue hydrogen production globally and it pays special attention to green hydrogen while having clean energy resources that contribute to hydrogen production.

“The price per kilowatt-hour of solar energy in the Kingdom does not exceed 2 cents, making it the lowest in the world and giving the Kingdom a key competitive advantage,” he said.