HE Faisal bin Fadel Al-Ibrahim, Saudi Arabia's Minister for Economy and Planning said that the adoption of 4IR technologies including artificial intelligence, robotics, big data, and IoT could bring robustness and resilience in the economies that are more open to adopt them. He was presenting his perspectives on the evolution and impact of 4IR during his opening speech on the second day of the 1st Saudi Forum on the 4th Industrial Revolution, organized by the Saudi Center for 4IR (C4IR Saudi). “4IR related technologies played a crucial role in structuring our collective response against the pandemic. COVID-19 intensified the need for data and evidence-based iterative policymaking supported by technology-driven and innovation-based solutions. As a result, the pandemic, despite being tragic, has become an enabler for the accelerated evolution of frontier technologies." he said. The Minister urged the attendees to consider the shortfalls in response to the pandemic as a rallying cry for continuous debate and discovery process for meeting global challenges, guided by the question: how could we have done better?
According to UNCTAD, the global market for 4IR related technologies would be in excess of USD 3.2 trillion by 2025. The Minister expressed his confidence that by leveraging the strong digital platform that the Kingdom has built since the launch of the Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia's economy can receive a boost from capturing a slice of this fast growing market. This will also have multiplier effects on the economy.
The Minister's speech centered around utilization of 4IR as a means to discover and deliver inclusive solutions for local and global challenges. According to him, Saudi Arabia can play a leading role in this journey and the C4IR Saudi can be an action center for collaboration between governments, local and international private sector and the global scientific and technological community. “The Center is at the confluence of the growing role of 4IR in solving global challenges, the momentum and potential of Kingdom's vision and its impact locally and globally and, the Kingdom's growing global leadership role anchored in both a strong legacy of working with global partners to conquer global challenges and its pioneering vision and momentous transformation." he concluded. Al-Ibrahim cited Saudi Arabia's exemplary leadership of the G20 during challenging times as a model for the Center's global collaboration on 4IR related policies, governance and solutions. The Ministry of Economy and Planning, he reiterated, would be looking forward to work with the Center in bringing together both local and global stakeholders.
C4IR Saudi is part of an international network of similar centers on the 4th Industrial Revolution, established in cooperation with the World Economic Forum. Other centers are located in 12 different countries including US, China, Japan and India. Saudi Arabia and WEF signed an agreement in November 2019 to establish C4IR Saudi and the Center was formally launched in April 2020. The Center is managed by KACST in cooperation with WEF.