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UAE and US plan to seal more AI deals

Abu Dhabi, 21 May 2024, (GNP): The United Arab Emirates and the United States plan to increase their investments in artificial intelligence as part of a strategic partnership, according to Omar Sultan Al Olama, the UAE’s state minister for AI.

“In terms of our investments, since the US is now considering the UAE as a strategic partner, and the UAE is reciprocating that by considering the US as a strategic partner, you will see more deals naturally,” Al Olama told Reuters Tuesday on the sidelines of an event in Dubai.

The UAE, through government-backed firm G42, aims to become a global AI leader, investing heavily to diversify its economy away from oil.

With neighboring Saudi Arabia positioning itself as a potential AI hub outside the United States, competition has intensified.

Last month, Microsoft announced a $1.5 billion investment in G42, giving the US company a minority stake and a board seat, and enabling closer collaboration.

Under the deal, which includes security assurances to both the US and UAE governments, G42 will utilize Microsoft cloud services for its AI applications.

The Beijing factor

This partnership occurs as Washington works to impede Beijing’s technological progress. The United States recently added four Chinese companies to an export blacklist for attempting to obtain AI chips for China’s military.

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Asked about further potential divestment of Chinese tech companies by the UAE, Al Olama said “government-to-government the UAE is a neutral country, and in that sense, we are going to be a country that allows the world to do business in the UAE”.

Al Olama emphasized that a diversified energy mix, including nuclear energy, is crucial for attracting AI investment to the UAE.

“We will have the ability to expand our energy infrastructure based on the needs of the data centers,” he stated.

He mentioned that discussions about small modular nuclear reactors are ongoing, but there are no concrete plans yet.