Saudi Arabia, World Economic Forum to set up ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution Center’

Saudi Arabia signed an agreement with the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Wednesday to establish a branch in the Kingdom of the WEF’s Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a program focused on new technologies that will power economic change in the immediate years to come.

The deal was signed by Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, the Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning, and the WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab. The Saudi center will be managed by King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology in Riyadh, in cooperation with WEF, according to Arab News.

The center is the fifth such branch in the world. Saudi Arabia will join the US, India, China and Japan.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution focuses on areas like Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things, robots, smart cities, governance, future shaping of technology and data policy, automated mobility, unmanned aerial vehicles, and the future of airspace.

The King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology will manage the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in cooperation with WEF.

“To use the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution such as AI and blockchain, and many others, for driving economic development and social progress, we need global cooperation,” Schwab told Arab News.  He also argued that the world “must develop a comprehensive and globally shared view of how technology is affecting our lives and reshaping our economic, social, cultural, and human environments,” in an overview of the program.

Diversifying Saudi Arabia’s economy into new technologies is the main focus of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 economic and social reform program.