Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are competing to become the leading AI nation in the Middle East, investing heavily in data centers, according to Bloomberg. The UAE currently has more data center capacity at 235 megawatts compared to Saudi Arabia's 123 megawatts, but Saudi Arabia is planning a larger expansion. By comparison, Germany is expected to have 1,060 megawatts of capacity. A PwC study predicts that AI could contribute $135 billion to Saudi Arabia's GDP and $96 billion to the UAE's by 2030. While the UAE is seen as a technology leader, Saudi Arabia's policies are deterring investors. However, Saudi Arabia offers cloud providers more favorable energy prices. The biggest challenge is operating water-intensive data centers in the desert. U.S. data center operator Equinix is building its fourth data center in Dubai and has plans for further regional expansion. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is reportedly in talks with the UAE about an AI chip factory.

Support our independent, free-access reporting. Any contribution helps and secures our future. Support now:
Bank transfer
Online journalist Matthias is the co-founder and publisher of THE DECODER. He believes that artificial intelligence will fundamentally change the relationship between humans and computers.
Join our community
Join the DECODER community on Discord, Reddit or Twitter - we can't wait to meet you.