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Oman attracts RO 33m worth investments in AI projects in 2023

The Oman AI Summit launched here on Monday January 29, 2024, under the patronage of His Highness Sayyid Dr Kamel bin Fahd al Said, Assistant Secretary-General of the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers.


Dr Ali al Shidhani, Communications and IT Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology, underscored the significance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in achieving Oman Vision 2040.


During a panel discussion, Dr Al Shidhani shared that the National Digital Programme – which aims to achieve a five-fold increase in the contribution of the digital economy to the GDP – currently includes an executive program for Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Technologies.


According to the Under-Secretary, the programme which was launched last year, aims to fulfil four main pillars: Embedment of AI in economic sectors, Embedment of AI in services such as health, Developing human capabilities and startups in AI, and Governance of AI.

He shared that the programme is measured through KPIs including such as the country’s rank within the Oxford Insight AI Index and the volume of private sector investments in AI.


Dr Al Shidani also announced that the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology was able to attract RO 33 million worth of investments in AI in 2023. He added that the value of total investments within the last three years amounted to around RO 55 million.


Significantly, the Summit also highlighted the importance of Artificial Intelligence regulation.


Speaking at a panel discussion, Dr Talal al Saadi, Director of the Under-Secretary’s office at the Ministry of Interior, shared that Artificial Intelligence regulations are necessary and integral to achieving Vision 2040.


Dr Al Saadi shared that the regulations will need to be implemented to ensure data privacy and protection, accountability and transparency.


Dr Al Shidhani pointed out that some legal statutes, such as the Personal Protection Law and the Information Technology law, contain some clauses that can protect individuals from the misuse of the AI in the short term, stressing that a longer term alternative is required.


Deliberations during the first day of summit highlighted three main pillars: government, economy and business. It also witnessed the opening of the accompanying exhibition which showcased over 25 exhibitors. The forum concludes today, January 30.