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Saudi Arabia and International Telecommunication Union Announce MOU to Support AI for Sustainable Development Efforts

The Saudi Data and AI Authority (SDAIA) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Are Entering Into a Collaboration That Aims to Advance Cooperation on Leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technologies and Applications for Sustainable Development

Saudi Arabia, represented by the Saudi Data and AI Authority (SDAIA), and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) announced a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate on initiatives aimed at supporting and strengthening efforts to optimize the benefits of AI technologies and applications for sustainable development.

“With only 10 years left to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, ITU looks forward to working with SDAIA to develop projects and initiatives that can accelerate progress toward the SDGs and promote AI as a force for good ─ for humanity and the planet.”

Under the partnership, Saudi Arabia will support ITU in developing projects, activities and initiatives that will, among other things, aim to facilitate greater multi-stakeholder participation, international cooperation, and knowledge sharing to accelerate progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This could potentially include developing initiatives such as an “AI Readiness Landscape Framework” that would explore and highlight country responses, progress and best practices related to AI policy frameworks.

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The MoU was announced by HE Dr. Abdullah Bin Sharaf Alghamdi, President of SDAIA, and HE Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General of ITU, in a virtual ceremony as part of the Global AI Summit 2020.

“Around the world, nations have recognized the transformative potential of artificial intelligence and are preparing themselves to harness the benefit of AI to support their development strategies and goals,” said HE Dr. Abdullah Bin Sharaf Alghamdi.

“With the announcement of this MoU, Saudi Arabia intends to support ITU to design activities that will help strengthen global efforts to use AI technologies for the advancement of sustainable development and growth. SDAIA has been established to drive AI programs in the Kingdom, and enable Saudi Arabia to become a global leader in AI. Through this partnership we will support the sharing of knowledge and experience among all nations, to further the use of AI for the benefit of humanity,” HE Dr. Alghamdi said.

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“AI is being used to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges, from climate change to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “With only 10 years left to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, ITU looks forward to working with SDAIA to develop projects and initiatives that can accelerate progress toward the SDGs and promote AI as a force for good ─ for humanity and the planet.”

Saudi Arabia is supporting ITU in this space as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to become a world leader in AI innovation and in advancing knowledge and research into the beneficial use of AI.

The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority was founded in 2019 as a world-class governance body to drive Saudi Arabia’s AI programs and ecosystem, and to lead global innovation and enable economic development powered by AI.

SDAIA is hosting the Global AI Summit, an international forum that brings together some of the world’s leading decision-makers, technologists, innovators and investors, under the theme of using AI for the good of humanity. The event explores the global disruption of the pandemic, and how the pandemic is changing and accelerating the transformative potential of AI and robotics to shape the new normal and create a better future for all.

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