PwC and Microsoft launch AI Centre of Excellence in Riyadh

22 March 2024 3 min. read

Deepening its commitment to the world of artificial intelligence (AI) and digital transformation in Saudi Arabia, PwC has established its first AI Centre of Excellence in the Middle East in the city of Riyadh.

“Our commitment to Saudi Vision 2030 and our future in technology is unwavering. We’re focused on building unparalleled AI engineering capabilities within Saudi Arabia,” said Ali Hosseini, Chief Technology Officer of PwC during the launch announcement held at LEAP 2024.

Established in tandem with Microsoft, the centre will focus on AI solutions on the Microsoft platform, including in the fields of machine learning and generative AI (Microsoft is an investor in OpenAI’s ChatGPT and has an own generative AI solution known as Microsoft Copilot).

PwC and Microsoft launch AI Centre of Excellence in Riyadh

Key objective of the AI Centre of Excellence will be to upskill the AI capabilities of Saudi-based professionals and prepare young talent for a successful career in artificial intelligence.

“By investing in local talent, PwC is set to pioneer a new era of technological excellence that will not only serve the Kingdom but also the wider region. In partnership with Microsoft, we are proud to launch a platform that nurtures and develops next-generation AI talent, carefully selected from the Kingdom's premier universities,” said Hosseini.

For experienced professionals, PwC and Microsoft will provide continuous learning opportunities. For graduates, the initiators will run a bi-monthly program with talents from leading universities across the Kingdom. These young Saudi professionals will be trained in cutting-edge AI skills and technologies including Azure OpenAI and open source models and frameworks.

“The centre will serve as a unique platform for knowledge exchange and collaborative learning, engaging both local and global partners from public and private sectors to expand expertise and perspectives,” said Hosseini.

As part of the collaboration, Microsoft will provide expertise, training resources, and access to cutting-edge AI technology platforms. PwC’s will meanwhile spearhead the strategic approach, programme management, operational framework, and curriculum development for the Centre of Excellence.

Commenting on the collaboration, Turki Badhris, President of Microsoft Arabia said: “Skilling the workforce to take advantage of cloud and AI technologies is crucial to unlocking the full potential of these transformative technologies, and we are proud to play a role in this important endeavour. Through the AI Centre of Excellence in Riyadh, we aim to provide young Saudi engineers with the skills and tools they need to help drive innovation and economic growth in the Kingdom.”

Last year, PwC established a regional headquarters in Saudi Arabia. The firm has more than 2,200 staff in the Kingdom, and is growing rapidly in light of booming demand for professional services triggered by Vision 2030 ambitions.

The local move in Saudi Arabia is part of PwC’s global $1 billion investment roadmap for expanding its AI capabilities. The funds are being used to upskill talent, develop AI solutions, launch AI Centre of Excellences, and bolt-on targeted acquisitions.