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RIYADH: Global economic volatility alongside emerging technologies has not deterred business confidence among CEOs in the Middle East, a recent report revealed.

The CEO Global Insights Study for 2024 by Arthur D. Little, survey almost with 300 CEOs from across the world, and discovered positivity from leaders in the region.

The report revealed that 61 percent of CEOs in the Middle East are optimistic about economic growth in the next three to five years, a notable jump from just 13 percent last year. 

Despite the ups and downs in the global economy, 37 percent of the CEOs surveyed still see a steady future, reflecting their trust in the region’s economic strength. 

With just 2 percent expecting a decline, there is a shared belief that the Middle East is on the rise after overcoming recent obstacles.

In the field of emerging technologies, a commitment to integrating artificial intelligence across business operations is seen as “crucial to growth and echoes globally”, with 54 percent of Middle East CEOs expressing a strategic vision toward a holistic, companywide AI deployment.

On that note, 96 percent of global CEOs stated that they have already deployed AI in their institutions in some capacity. 

Regionally, 31 percent confirmed the implementation of AI strategies across several departments, with 13 percent already realizing “a compelling, enterprise-wide AI strategy.”

According to the report, the leaders understand that in order to harness the abilities of AI, they must also focus on human capability and reskilling. 

Some 59 percent of the CEOs who undertook the survey said that they “have either a strong or very strong need to reskill their workforces to meet changing requirements.”  

This trend is particularly pressing in sectors such as manufacturing, with a 63 percent increase in the need to reskill. 

“In the current times of business and geopolitical shifts, it is inspiring to witness the optimism among the Middle East’s CEOs for what lies ahead,” said Thomas Kuruvilla, managing partner at Arthur D. Little Middle East, adding: “The ADL 2024 CEO Insights Study reveals that despite acknowledging the continuing unpredictability, these leaders are confident that with resilient business models, strategic clarity, the embrace of AI, and a focus on upskilling their teams, their companies and markets are poised for enduring growth and will actively contribute to the region’s prosperous future.”

He continued: “AI is more than a buzzword in the Middle East; it’s a strategic imperative that’s receiving boardroom attention. Our CEOs are not just adopting AI but are strategically deploying it to unlock a new frontier of possibilities.”

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