Dubai: Artificial Intelligence (AI) will contribute $320 billion (Dh1.2 trillion) to the Middle East economy by 2030, equivalent to 11 per cent of GDP, PwC Middle East’s report shows.

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

The report outlines 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.

Globally, PwC analysis 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 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,” said Richard Boxshall, senior economist at PwC Middle East.

Skilled labour

The potential for AI adoption varies by industry, he said the difference is driven by factors such as infrastructure and access to skilled labour, which are considered key enabling factors for AI development.

“The impact on productivity alone will be transformational and disruptive for a region like the Middle East which faces weak productivity levels. Investment in AI technologies could strategically position the region for the years to come and help it move away from its reliance on oil,” he said.

Beyond 2030, the report shows that 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 in order to provide a springboard for the future.