RIYADH — Minister of Communications and Information Technology Eng. Abdullah Al-Swaha revealed that Saudi Arabia has made great strides in digital transformation. He said that the LEAP Tech Conference 2024 would bring in technological investments amounting to $11.9 billion. “These investments, the largest of its kind in the region, would support deep and emerging technologies, innovation, and cloud computing in Saudi Arabia and worldwide.

The minister said this while opening the 3rd edition of LEAP Tech Conference 2024, under the slogan “New Horizons,” at the Riyadh International Convention & Exhibition Center on Monday.

Al-Swaha highlighted the unwavering support that Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman has extended to Saudi and global tech sectors, to help the digital economy grow and prosper, as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. “Saudi Arabia seeks to change the region through development in the field of technology. We have one of the best technological environments for the growth and development of the entire sector, and human capital is the most important to us because it represents a success story,” he said.

The new investments will help consolidate the Kingdom’s position as the largest market and digital economy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) for leading technology companies such as Amazon Web Services, IBM, Datavolt and ServiceNow, according to a press release issued by the conference organizing committee. The investments will go toward developing Saudi digital skills and supporting tech start-ups.

According to the press release, on the first day of LEAP 24, Amazon Web Services announced a $5.3 billion investment in a new cloud zone in Saudi Arabia. Datavolt also announced a $5 billion investment in Saudi data centers with a capacity of more than 300 megawatts.

IBM plans to invest $250 million in a global software development center in the Kingdom. ServiceNow will invest $500 million to localize its regional services in Saudi Arabia, with training and development programs to upskill and train Saudi talent. Dell will open a manufacturing and fulfillment center in Saudi Arabia, the first of its kind in the MENA region.

Aramco announced the establishment of the Saudi Accelerator Innovation Lab (SAIL). Aramco and MCIT co-founded SAIL to strengthen Saudi Arabia’s digital capabilities and to launch the ‘Metbrain’ GenAI model. It also announced Aramco LLM, the world’s first industrial grade GenAI. Datadog will establish the first cloud application security solutions academy in the Kingdom, and Uipath announced the establishment of its first-in-the-region automation academy to train, upskill, and foster Saudi talent.

More than 1,100 speakers including international figures, experts and specialists in the technology sector join their Saudi counterparts at the four-day conference, which is expected to witnesses huge flow of more than 200,000 visitors.

Major topics on the first day of the conference include artificial intelligence, smart city technologies, the impact of digitization and artificial intelligence on the workforce, green computing, the future of innovation, strategic transformation, and investing in the future of humanity.

The Leap conference also includes a group of new platforms and theaters, namely the digital entrepreneurship platform ‘Code,’ the theater of the Ministry of Information, Space, Games, and the startup company. It also includes competitions dedicated to startup companies with prizes exceeding $1million. The competition is divided into several categories: LEAP Award, Rising Star, Aviatrix, Technology for Humanity, New Horizons, and Artificial Intelligence.

The event is witnessing the presence of more than 1,800 exhibitors, and over 668 startup companies on a sprawling area exceeding 138,000 square meters.

LEAP, the technology exhibition, aims to solve the major challenges facing humanity through the large scale investment in game changing technologies that have the potential to reshape the way we live. LEAP’s mission is to be a truly global event attracting the world’s most innovative companies, most powerful venture capitalists, and most exciting tech entrepreneurs and thought leaders.

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