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Oman sets aside $38m for AI projects next year

MUSCAT, February 19, 2024

The Oman government has allocated RO15 million ($38 million) for artificial intelligence (AI) projects for 2025 under a new growth strategy, reported Times of Oman.

The announcement was made at a key forum in Muscat organised by the Ministry of Economy, in cooperation with the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology, which brought together Omani companies specialised in the field of AI and all government agencies, it stated.

The forum titled, “Artificial Intelligence Economics Initiative 2024” in Muscat, is aimed at maximising in-country value (ICV) and providing a platform for companies to display their innovative solutions in various sectors, in an effort to achieve cooperation between the government and private sectors.

Dr Said bin Mohammed Al Saqri, Minister of Economy, revealed that the ministry’s approval of the OMR15 million development budget for 2025 will earmark OMR10 million for government agencies and OMR5 million for the governorates.

“This forum comes out of the belief in the necessity of urging national efforts to keep pace with this global rapid development in technologies and to prepare the economy to be more flexible, responsive to changes, and more capable of investing in opportunities, which pushes the Sultanate of Oman to be a leader in AI and future technologies.”

Al Saqri explained that the 10th five-year development plan (2021-2025) has attached an importance to AI for its role in economic growth. The same plan has also underlined in its goal related to stimulating economic activity the need to encourage the contribution of small and medium enterprises in innovation activities, the knowledge economy, AI, and specialised markets.

The plan also approved the priority of information and communications technology by amplifying the contribution of the digital economy to the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2040 to about 10%.

The forum also included a review of the projects approved within the Artificial Intelligence Economics Initiative, with a focus on their social, developmental and economic impacts, and highlighting the capabilities of Omani companies in the AI field.

A discussion session was held between government agencies and companies to explore the possibilities of cooperation and utilize local expertise in improving government projects and initiatives related to AI.

During the forum, the winning projects of the initiative were announced.




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