Saudi Arabia signs MoUs with IBM, Alibaba and Huawei on AI

A man stands near an IBM logo at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
A man stands near an IBM logo at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

(Reuters) - The Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence on Thursday signed memorandums of understanding with IBM <IBM.N>, Alibaba <BABA.N> and Huawei in areas of artificial intelligence (AI) at a summit in the kingdom, state news agency SPA said.

SDAIA and Alibaba Cloud announced an MoU to partner in supporting Saudi Arabia’s path to develop smart cities through AI, SPA said.

"Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 has clear goals to transform KSA cities into smart ones by unlocking the value of city data as a national asset to realize Vision 2030 aspirations," said Abdullah Bin Sharaf Alghandi, President of SDAIA.

SDAIA and Huawei signed an MOU to recognise Arabic language and character using AI technology and with the help of researchers from the kingdom and Huawei, according to SDAIA's twitter account.

Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 reform plan is a package of economic and social policies designed to free the kingdom from dependence on oil exports.

SDAIA is seeking IBM's help in developing "real use cases" of AI in areas of health, energy and other sectors, as well as training through a strategic relationship, it said.

Saudi Arabia wants to train 20,000 people over the next decade in the field of AI.

(Reporting by Yousef Saba; additional reporting of Saeed Azhar ; editing by Jason Neely and Raissa Kasolowsky)