Russia's RDIF seeks to build ties with Saudi’s new AI centre

Argaam, 05.09.2019

RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov shake hands after signing the agreement.

Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russia's sovereign wealth fund, is seeking to cooperate with Saudi Arabia’s National Center for Artificial Intelligence, to develop advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, CEO Kirill Dmitriev told Argaam in an exclusive.

"We are looking forward to cooperating with the National Center for Artificial Intelligence, in line with the goals and objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 program," he said.

"We firmly believe that our countries can join forces in developing the most advanced AI technologies, which will enhance the productivity of our economies and competitiveness on the global market."

Last week, Saudi King Salman issued the decree to establish the National Center for Artificial Intelligence, aimed to enhance the drive toward innovation and digital transformation in the Kingdom.

On Thursday, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov and RDIF chief signed an agreement on jointly developing AI sector. Under the terms of the agreement, RDIF will invest in Russian companies that create IT infrastructure and develop the AI sector, including cloud technology, data storage and processing centers.

"We are very keen on welcoming Saudi investors in Russia’s AI sector," Dmitriev said, adding the fund will focus on attracting investments and knowledge from foreign partners.

The CEO had told Argaam earlier that RDI F has attracted $2 billion from foreign partners for investment in AI development in Russia.

Elsewhere, RDIF is currently in talks with Russian companies specializing in analysis of satellite images of Earth and high-tech prosthetic appliances to enable them to enter the Middle East and other Asian markets.