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In 2023, generative AI (GenAI) emerged as a promising force poised to transform business operations, capturing widespread attention. Notably, the Middle East stands out with a distinctive approach to AI and GenAI adoption, diverging from prevailing global trends.

Middle East Progress in GenAI

Progress in GenAI within the Middle East is evident. According to a recent survey, 61% of executives foresee productivity gains exceeding 10% due to the implementation of AI and GenAI by 2024. Moreover, over half (54%) of Middle Eastern executives emphasize their current focus on practical applications of AI/GenAI, surpassing mere experimentation to embrace comprehensive and scalable initiatives.

In the realm of workforce development, the Middle East leads in upskilling efforts related to GenAI. Nonetheless, there remains ample room for enhancement, with only 11% of Middle Eastern executives reporting that over a quarter of their workforce has received training in GenAI tools. This underscores a persistent regional endeavor to equip the workforce with requisite AI skills.

Analysts assert that AI holds the potential to redefine company operations in the Middle East, thereby generating significant value for individual enterprises and broader economies. This transformative shift necessitates a 'value-first' approach and a mindset combining technology with effective change management strategies across diverse sectors.

Also Read: UAE Minister Stresses the Importance of Digital Skills in the Age of Generative AI

Also Read: UAE Launches ‘Generative AI’ Guide for Key Industries

More Investments, More Cost Savings

Furthermore, the correlation between investments and cost savings is pronounced. Among 1,406 C-level executives surveyed across 50 markets and 14 industries, 71% intend to escalate tech investments in 2024, with 85% planning to augment spending on AI and GenAI. Although a minority of companies are currently reaping the benefits of AI and GenAI, a majority are either playing catch-up or adopting a cautious stance. More than 60% of surveyed executives also revealed their firms' wait-and-see attitude towards AI-specific regulations, while a mere 6% have trained over a quarter of their workforce in GenAI tools thus far.

According to the report, organizations earmarking over USD 50 million for AI and GenAI investments in the current year are 1.3 times more likely to witness cost savings by 2024 and 1.5 times more likely to achieve cost reductions exceeding 10%.

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