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Saudi Arabia $40b AI fund

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Saudi Arabia is planning to establish a $40 billion fund dedicated to investments in artificial intelligence (AI). This initiative is part of the kingdom’s broader Vision 2030 agenda, which aims to diversify its economy beyond oil. The fund will be sourced through the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which has assets exceeding $900 billion. Discussions are underway with potential financiers, including Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), a leading venture capital firm in Silicon Valley, to explore partnerships for this ambitious AI investment fund.

Andreessen Horowitz, known for its significant investments in AI and a portfolio that includes nearly 100 AI-related startups, is considered a key partner in this venture. The firm’s co-founder, Ben Horowitz, has established a relationship with PIF governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan, further facilitating discussions between the two entities. The partnership could potentially see Andreessen Horowitz setting up an office in Riyadh, enhancing Saudi Arabia’s position in the global AI landscape.

The Saudi AI fund aims to become the world’s largest investor in AI, with plans to invest in chip makers and large data centers capable of powering AI technology. This move is part of a broader strategy to attract major tech firms and startups, thereby transitioning from an oil-based economy to a tech-driven one. The kingdom has also shown interest in cloud computing and digital infrastructure, essential for AI development, with significant investments such as Amazon Web Services’ pledge to invest $5.3 billion in the kingdom’s technology market.

This initiative places Saudi Arabia in direct competition with other leading AI markets globally, including the UK, Canada, Europe, and its regional rival, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE has previously made strides in the AI sector, being the first country to appoint an AI minister and attracting over 1,000 AI-focused businesses. However, Saudi Arabia’s ambitious investment in AI signifies its commitment to becoming a major player in the global tech arena, challenging existing AI powerhouses.

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