SPA — The LEAP 23 Conference, which started in Riyadh today, announced more than $9 billion investments to support future technologies, digital entrepreneurship, and tech startups, and to enhance the Kingdom’s position as the largest digital market in the Middle East and North Africa.
The announcement was made by the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Eng. Abdullah bin Amer Al-Swaha at the opening of LEAP 23, which runs until Thursday, February 9. According to Al-Swaha, among the investors are Microsoft, with a $2.1 billion investment in a hyperscale cloud in the Kingdom, Oracle with $1.5 billion invested to expand its business by launching a new cloud areas in the Kingdom, HUAWEI, with a $400 million investment in cloud area for its services in the Kingdom, and the launch of a Zoom cloud area in the Kingdom in partnership with Aramco. Investments amount to $434 million, also with $4.5 billion in global and local investments in multiple sectors.
Al-Swaha emphasized that these packages of huge investments owe it to the support of His Highness the Crown Prince who endeavours to empower the technology sector, one of the most promising, through unprecedented support, convinced of the importance of taking advantage of opportunities offered by the fields of digital economics, Internet of Things, biological and health tech, quantitative science, space, satellites, Fintech, and open sources.
Al-Swaha said that the Kingdom’s organizing LEAP23 is a confirmation of the great support lent to the digital transformation by His Highness the Crown Prince who is keen to keep abreast of the accelerated developments and changes in the world in order to achieve the objectives of Vision 2030 in the promising sectors and technologies of the future.
According to Al-Swaha, LEAP 23 is now an annual event that brings together the world’s most important tech experts. More than 250,000 people are expected to participate from around the world. The Kingdom continues to show leadership, as the region’s largest digital market, with more than $42 billion and the ideal market access platform in the Middle East and North Africa. Over 340,000 talented individuals are involved in the telecommunications and information technology sector, with women’s participation in IT Sector reaching 32.5%, a rate higher than the EU and Silicon Valley average, which is the biggest in women’s empowerment.
Al-Swaha said his ministry looks forward to strengthening the outcomes of LEAP 23, diversifying the economy, localizing technology and advancing industries, adding that the event has become one of the most important annual global tech gathering, awaited by innovators eager to meet with entrepreneurs and thought leaders, where bold investment funds open up prospects in new investment areas and launch quality partnerships, just as expected during LEAP 23.
On the first day of the conference, Meta also announced the opening of the first Metaverse Academy in MENA, WEO Technology and Camel Lab announced the launching of Hektar, a multi-content social media app, and Mena Communication and STC launched Beem, an app for instant messaging, high-quality voice and video calls, and business features.