RIYADH: Norway-based global IT services company Crayon is fully invested in the future of the artificial intelligence sector in Saudi Arabia with its CEO expecting the industry to contribute 12.4 percent of the country’s GDP by 2030.
During the second Global Summit on Artificial Intelligence held in Riyadh, Ziad Rizk, CEO of Crayon Middle East and Africa, told Arab News that the Kingdom is the ideal place for the company to incubate its operations to meet the demand in the entire Middle East and Africa region.
“About $360 billion will be spent on AI in the Middle East and Africa. But specifically, when you look at the Kingdom, we think AI will represent about 12.4 percent of GDP by 2030,” Rizk told Arab News.
He added, “Accordingly, this is where we are investing ahead of the curve, in an effort to lead and support the Kingdom’s journey in this direction.”
Rizk explained that the company will support the sector through multiple fields by benefiting from its global expertise in the Kingdom, as well as creating a pool of local talents in cooperation with the government and universities.
He added, “The third pillar is working with the startup community and expanding companies that are already on the cusp of massive growth, and helping them expand outside the Kingdom, across the Middle East and Africa.” Crayon also announced the opening of its regional office for digital transformation in Riyadh during the event.
Founded in 2002, the company helps clients understand the origins of software and take advantage of and reduce software costs, and already has more than 4,500 clients across the MEA region.
Rizk said Crayon’s current customer base in Saudi Arabia consists of large companies and entities spanning across sectors such as oil, electricity and aviation.
Praising the Saudi market, Rizk said that her clients in the Kingdom are highly experienced as well as flexible in achieving their ambitions. Rizk believes that startups will play a big role in boosting the AI sector in the Kingdom and the company plans to support them.
“The startup community is really good at identifying a major technical problem, and then focusing a lot on solving it, but these companies have challenges on the business side, and that’s where we are,” he said.
Crayon was named Global Partner for Data & AI in 2019 by Microsoft as well as Partner of the Year for Saudi Arabia in 2021.
The company has also seen 180 percent year-over-year growth, and Rizk expects this to continue for at least three years.