Saudi Arabia and World Economic Forum to set up Fourth Industrial Revolution centre

Agreement between WEF and the kingdom marks the fifth such centre of its kind in the world

Saudi Arabia's minister of economy and planning Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri and Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of WEF signed agreement to open a Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the kingdom, the the Geneva-based organisation's fifth such centre in the world. SPA

Saudi Arabia and the World Economic Forum agreed to set up a Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the kingdom, the fifth of its kind globally, as the country focuses on investment in technology.

Saudi Arabia's minister of economy and planning Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri and WEF executive chairman Klaus Schwab signed the agreement following meetings to discuss areas of joint cooperation between the kingdom and the Geneva-based organisation, according to a statement on Thursday.

"The centre will provide space for the development of the mechanisms, plans and applications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the kingdom and will contribute to the adoption of technology and best practices in the region and the world," according to the statement.

Saudi Arabia is forging ahead with plans to overhaul its economy to reduce its reliance on oil, through measures such as investments in advanced technology, to create jobs for nationals and diversify sources of revenue. The kingdom has made investments in Japan's SoftBank first Vision Fund, Uber and other tech ventures as part of its broader plan to transform the country into a high-tech investment powerhouse.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is based on a number of areas, including 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.

Through this tie-up, Saudi Arabia will join countries such as India, China and Japan in entering the global Fourth Industrial Revolution network.

The centre will also provide the opportunity to cooperate with various government agencies, international institutions and private companies, to develop solutions to the challenges of major sectors. It will also help in preparing competencies, capacity-building and advanced skill development in areas related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.