The World Economic Forum’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Network has hosted a workshop in Manama to discuss the future of public Artificial Intelligence (AI) procurement, in partnership with the Bahrain Economic Development Board and Bahrain’s Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA).
The value of the AI industry in the Middle East is expected to reach USD 320 billion by 2030, according to PwC, and has positioned the region as a strategic development “springboard”.
The workshop follows closely on from the WEF Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian, China. During the major global event, the World Economic Forum announced that Bahrain would pilot new guidelines for the procurement of AI in the public sector, produced by WEF’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The workshop brought together Bahrain government stakeholders, entrepreneurs and experts to identify key opportunities and challenges for the high-tech industry. The sessions also helped to gather evidence and feedback on the guidelines for AI procurement in the public sector and developed a roadmap to advance this goal among the government of Bahrain.
Eddan Katz, Project Lead, AI and Machine Learning of WEF C4IR said: “The readiness of Bahrain’s public sector for the social and economic development anticipated by the dawn of artificial intelligence is impressive. Visionary leadership enabling multidisciplinary coordination across sectors demonstrates how a commitment to responsible innovation can transform how government works and help improve people’s lives.”
Khalid Humaidan, Chief Executive of the Bahrain EDB said: “Bahrain is a world leader when it comes to the testing, governance and regulation of emerging technologies, making it the ideal partner for this World Economic Forum project. Governments around the world may be hesitant to adopt AI systems when faced with complex procurement processes, but by working together we can create a model that truly powers the public sector into the next generation of technology.”
Mohammed Ali Al Qaed, Chief Executive of the iGA said: “Government of Bahrain recognizes the importance of possessing the necessary know-how supported by rules and guidelines for the procurement of AI solutions. The guidelines for public procurement of AI, as determined by the WEF, present us an opportunity to learn and utilize how we should acquire and deploy AI based solutions. They put in place an innovative and reliable method for the procurement process, drawing from the input of experts in the field, and maximizing the benefits of science and technology for our society.”