PwC, a global provider of assurance, advisory and tax services with 40 years in the Middle East where it has 23 offices across 12 countries in the region with around 4,200 people. (www.pwc.com/me).  It researched AI’s contribution to the global and middle eastern economies and recently produced a report on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how to put it to work for the planet  as possibly contributing up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy in 2030.

It is prefaced as follows:

The artificial intelligence (AI) opportunity for the Earth is significant. Today’s AI explosion will see us add this technology to more and more things every year. The AI itself will also become smarter with each passing year – not only more productive but developing intelligence that humans don’t yet have, accelerating human learning and innovation. As we think about the gains, efficiencies and new solutions this creates for nations, business and for everyday life, we must also think about how to maximise gains for society and our environment. We live in exciting times: it is now possible to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems with emerging technologies, such as AI. It’s time to put AI to work for the planet. has shown that AI could contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy in 2030, more than the current output of China and India combined. Of this, labour productivity improvements are expected to account for half of all economic gains to 2030, while increased consumer demand resulting from AI-enabled product enhancements will account for the rest. In a specifically tailored chapter for the Middle East: it holds that:

The US$320 billion impact of AI for the Middle East

In the wake of the fourth industrial revolution, governments and businesses across the Middle East are beginning to realise the shift globally towards AI and advanced technologies. They are faced with a choice between being a part of the technological disruption, or being left behind. When we look at the economic impact for the region, being left behind is not an option. We estimate that the Middle East is expected to accrue 2% of the total global benefits of AI in 2030. This is equivalent to US$320 billion.

In absolute terms, the largest gains are expected to accrue to Saudi Arabia where AI is expected to contribute over US$135.2 billion in 2030 to the economy, equivalent to 12.4% of GDP. In relative terms the UAE is expected to see the largest impact of close to 14% of 2030 GDP.

So according to PwC, AI contributing $320 billion to the Middle East economy by 2030, representing 11% of GDP, and that there are greater, untapped opportunities that could increase the impact of AI on the region’s economy. Moreover, the impact could be even larger if governments continue to push the boundaries of innovation and implementation of AI across businesses and sectors between now and 2030.

That first wave consists of largely known technological innovations that are either adoption-ready or that are currently being fine-tuned or scaled for broader implementation. Beyond 2030, the scope of AI impacts on both the economy and society will almost certainly increase, so it is important for the Middle East to be strategically placed to provide a springboard for the future.

The most significant relative gains in the region are expected in the UAE where AI is expected to contribute almost 14 per cent of GDP in 2030. This is followed by Saudi Arabia (12.4 per cent), the GCC4 (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar (8.2 per cent)) and then Egypt (7.7 per cent).

The construction and manufacturing sector of course with almost $100 billion in 2030 would be first to be affected with the retail and wholesale trade and public health and education sectors following in that order to be the most significant recipient of AI’s contribution.

AI’s adoption varies from industry to industry as confirmed one PwC’s chief economist, the difference would be as always through infrastructure and access to skilled labour; for ever considered especially in the Gulf region as key enabling factors for any development, let alone AI’s.