In April 2016, Saudi Arabia introduced its Vision 2030, a national roadmap for the oil-rich country development and economic goals for the next 15 years. According to Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman at the time, the main goal was to turn oil into just one but still essential part of the Saudi economy.
While working at building a 2 trillion dollars mega-fund to back its Vision, Saudi Arabia has announced several developments that showed its growing interest in the technology sector. Japan’s SoftBank is setting up a 100 billion dollars technology fund and said it is in talks with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) for an investment that could total 45 billion dollars – 45 times what Apple would be willing to invest – in a bid to become the world’s leading tech investor.
Such developments emerged as Saudi Aramco, the Saudi national oil and natural gas company, broke ground on the construction of a brand new, state-of-the-art research center at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), with an expected completion date of mid-2019. All this “will help (…) create business value in pursuit of the national objective of transition to a knowledge society, as enunciated in Vision 2030,” said Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih.