Abdullah bin Amer Alswaha
Eng. Abdullah bin Amer Alswaha, the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, delivers a keynote address at LEAP23. Image Credit: Supplied

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Investments of more than $9 billion to support future technologies, digital entrepreneurship and tech startups were unveiled on the first day of LEAP23, which began in Riyadh on Monday.

These include Microsoft’s $2.1 billion investment in a global super-scaler cloud, Oracle’s $1.5 billion to expand its MENA business by launching new cloud areas, Huawei’s $400 million in cloud infrastructure, and the launch of a Zoom cloud area in partnership with Aramco. An additional $ 4.5 billion has been invested in global and local assets across multiple sectors at LEAP23.

The four-day tech event is seeking to fast-track Saudi Arabia’s digital transformation and enhance the kingdom’s position as a key digital market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

The investments were revealed by Eng. Abdullah bin Amer Alswaha, the Minister of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), during a keynote address on the opening morning of LEAP23, taking place at the Riyadh Front Exhibition & Conference Centre until Thursday, February 9.

An annual event that brings together the world’s key tech experts, LEAP23 is expected to attract more than 250,000 visitors this year.

Other major announcements on the first day of LEAP23 included Meta launching the opening of the first Metaverse Academy in MENA, WEO Technology and Camel Lab launching Hektar, a multi-content social media app; and MENA Communication and STC launching Beem – a new application for instant messaging, high-quality voice and video calls, and business features.