Africa, Middle East to spend $3bn on AI

Africa Middle East to spend 3bn on AI
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The Middle East and African region will spend $3bn in 2023 to boost Artificial Intelligence capacity.

This will only account for two per cent of the global $151.4bn that would be spent on AI in 2023 according to the latest Worldwide Artificial Intelligence Spending Guide from International Data Corporation.

Despite this, the region was expected to record the fastest growth rate over the coming years, with the IDC forecasting that AI spending would increase at a compound annual growth rate of 29.7 per cent over the 2022 to 2026 period to reach $6.4bn in 2026.

The Senior Program Manager for software, cloud, and IT services at IDC MEA, Manish Ranjan, said, “The rapid adoption of cloud and digital transformation in MEA will result in AI being incorporated into many different products and solutions.

“Organisations across the region are investing in AI technologies and related software and services to drive greater efficiency through automation and contribute to a more agile operating environment.

“The effects of the pandemic have fueled further spending in relation to AI/ML adoption, particularly within the banking and finance, manufacturing, trade, healthcare, and government verticals.”

Banking, retail, and federal/central government would be the region’s biggest spenders on AI in 2023, followed by discrete manufacturing. These four industries would account for about half (44 per cent) of the region’s total AI spending in 2023.

Ranjan, added, “AI growth in the region looks very promising as businesses are increasingly investing in AI- and analytics and business intelligence-based solutions in order to strengthen and expand their customer experiences, build digital capabilities, and drive innovation.

“Augmented customer service agents, fraud analysis and investigation, augmented threat intelligence and prevention systems, and sales process recommendation and augmentation are the key business use cases where organisations are investing more in the market.”

There were still numerous challenges hindering the adoption of AI in the region, with the most critical being the lack of skilled resources such as data scientists, data engineers, and AI modelers, it stated.

It added that the recent strides made in the AI space had led to numerous use cases, with global tech firms like Microsoft and Google incorporating AI into their systems. According to experts, AI allowed for the efficiency of processes and would lead to the extinction of numerous roles.

This recently led global tech stakeholders, including Elon Musk, to write an open letter to AI labs to pause their work.

Part of the letter read, “Powerful AI systems should be developed only once we are confident that their effects will be positive, and their risks will be manageable.”

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