US Pushes for AI Partnerships in UAE to Counter China Influence


According to reports from the Financial Times (FT), the White House is actively encouraging American artificial intelligence (AI) companies to establish collaborative ventures in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This strategic move aims to position the US ahead of China in the global AI race.

The FT report followed Microsoft’s recent announcement of a $1.5 billion investment in G42, an AI company based in Abu Dhabi and led by Emirati royal Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

Sources familiar with the discussions revealed that the deal between Microsoft and G42 was finalized after a series of meetings facilitated by the American government. These discussions involved investors and companies from the UAE, along with major American tech giants such as Microsoft, Google, and OpenAI.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo played a significant role in these negotiations, indicating a strong commitment from the US government. Sheikh Tahnoon expressed a strategic decision by Abu Dhabi to focus on US technology during discussions in Washington last year.

The UAE’s emphasis on US tech stems from its recognition of data as the new oil and the need to navigate between US-China tech tensions. Productive conversations, particularly with Secretary Raimondo, underscore the UAE’s commitment to fostering collaboration in AI development.

However, the approval of the Microsoft-G42 deal was not without challenges, as national security concerns prompted months of discussions with government officials from both countries.

This development coincides with efforts across the Middle East to position themselves as global AI leaders. Saudi Arabia’s establishment of a $40 billion AI investment fund exemplifies the region’s commitment to leveraging AI for economic growth.

A PwC study projects significant potential for the Middle East in capturing AI’s global benefits, estimated at around $320 billion by the end of the decade. Geopolitical analysts anticipate that successful AI development efforts in the region could drive local innovation, attract talent, and democratize the knowledge economy, fostering regional prosperity and stability.