Over 100,000 young Saudis to benefit from training agreement with IBM

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A new agreement between IBM and Saudi Arabia’s IT authority will upskill 100,000 young Saudis in the digital sector, the official Saudi Press Agency reported on Saturday.

The MoU to implement eight initiatives seeks to “bolster the Kingdom’s position as a hub of technology and innovation in the Middle East and North Africa region,” according to SPA.

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The agreement was signed during US President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia, between the Kingdom’s Deputy Minister for International Cooperation and Partnerships, Issam al-Thukair, and Fahad Alanazi, General Manager, IBM Saudi Arabia.

The agreement is expected to tie in with Saudi Arabia’s investment-focused route to the fourth industrial revolution.

Areas covered under training will include artificial intelligence and machine learning, cybersecurity and joint research, innovation accelerators, a policy laboratory, and IBM’s cloud and open technology centers for software interoperability, SPA reported.

“Our collaboration with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology will help identify, co-create, and co-develop innovative applications to provide the Kingdom with access to advanced technology aligned to its Saudi Vision 2030 objectives,” Fahad Alanazi, General Manager, IBM Saudi Arabia, was quoted as saying.

Artificial intelligence projects are reportedly expected to be implemented within entities operating in the public sector to reach 66 projects.

Within five years, the agreement will also enable 100 workshops with government agencies on design thinking, and train 600 public sector employees in the accelerator established.

The two sides will also work together to conduct “many joint research and studies over the years,” according to the SPA report, which is expected to accelerate the growth of the digital economy.

Saudi Arabia and the US will cooperate on a range of future industries including 5G networks, enhanced cybersecurity, and space exploration, in addition to public health, the two countries announced on Friday.

Biden, who arrived in the Kingdom earlier in the evening, met with King Salman at Al Salam Royal Palace in Jeddah before the Crown Prince headed a meeting with the US president and officials from both countries.

Speaking to reporters following his meetings, Biden said he had good discussions on ensuring global energy security and adequate oil supplies during his meetings with King Salman and the Crown Prince.

A joint statement clarified that the US-Saudi partnership has been a “cornerstone of regional security over decades,” adding that both countries share the vision of a “secure, stable, and prosperous region, interconnected with the world.”

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