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Jordan excels in AI, achieves advanced places in international ranking –officials

By Heba Elayyan - May 13,2024 - Last updated at May 13,2024

Over the past four years, Jordan has demonstrated a ‘significant’ progress in the Government Readiness for Artificial Intelligence index (Photo by Heba Elayyan)

AMMAN — Over the past four years, Jordan has demonstrated a “significant” progress in the Government Readiness for Artificial Intelligence (AI) index, rising 24 ranks between 2020 and 2023, placing it among the top 30 per cent of participating countries, according to official figures.

The figures were announced during the 4th Digital Transformation Conference, which was held on Thursday with the participation of over 400 senior government officials, digitalisation leaders, project owners, and emerging technology experts.

Lama Arabiat, director of AI and advanced technologies at the Ministry of Economics and Entrepreneurship, cited the “inevitable” impact of AI on employment worldwide.

She explained that approximately 40 per cent of jobs are poised to be affected by AI technologies, necessitating a balance between employment and technology adoption policies to serve public interests.

The conference, which convened over 400 senior government officials, digitalisation leaders, project owners and emerging technology experts, aimed to explore avenues for digital transformation, bolstering the digital economy and fostering entrepreneurship within Jordan.

Arabiat said that the Ministry of Economics and Entrepreneurship has made “significant progress” over the past four years in adopting policies and technologies related to AI in several fields which, she added, was reflected on Jordan’s performance in the Government Readiness for Artificial Intelligence Index, where Jordan advanced by 5.1 points in the 2023 report compared to 2022.

The ministry has formulated the Jordanian Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, aligned with the nation’s Economic Modernisation Vision, she said.

“The strategy, encompassing a five-year implementation plan from 2023 to 2027, features 68 projects aimed at positioning Jordan as a regional leader in AI and fostering an environment to technological innovation and entrepreneurship.”

The official said that the key targets outlined in the strategy include a 30 per cent increase in AI researchers, attracting investment and nurturing 50 new AI-powered start-ups, and training 15,000 individuals through capacity-building programmes.

“The strategy also aims to raise awareness of AI in 50 governmental entities, deploy AI in 25 governmental projects to address national challenges and achieve a 20 per cent enhancement in Jordan’s government AI readiness index.”

Arabiat said that 19 per cent of start-ups in Jordan are specialised in AI technologies, with more than 26 universities in the Kingdom teaching AI in the undergraduate and graduate levels.

According to the International Monitory Fund (IMF), Jordan’s progress in AI readiness has been recognised, with the country ranking 55th out of 193 nations in the Government AI Readiness Index 2023 compared to its position at 80th out of 160 countries in 2021.

Regionally, Jordan has climbed to the fifth rank among Arab countries in 2023, surpassing Bahrain, Kuwait, Egypt, and Tunisia, and exceeding the average performance of Arab nations in the index.

The IMF noted relative progress among Arab countries, with 11 countries (including Jordan) ranking among the top-performing 50 per cent of participants in the 2023 report, compared to only nine in 2020.

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