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UAE CEOs Prioritize AI Investment Despite Delayed Returns

According to the KPMG UAE CEO Outlook report, artificial intelligence (AI) is a key investment goal for 56% of UAE CEOs.

A KPMG UAE CEO Outlook report indicates that 56% of CEOs in the UAE view artificial intelligence (AI) as a top investment priority, underscoring a commitment to adopting AI technology for enhanced business competitiveness. 

However, most CEOs don’t anticipate significant returns on their AI investments for three to seven years.

Confidence in AI Regulation Impacting Organizational Success:

While AI adoption is accelerating, many CEOs express concerns about the regulatory environment in the space and its potential impact on organizational success. 

The UAE government has addressed these concerns by establishing the UAE Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain Council to propose AI policies and guidelines.

The report highlights the increasing significance of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations, with 64% of UAE CEOs fully integrating ESG into their business strategies. 

ESG is crucial for building brand reputation and attracting the next generation of talent. However, 88% of CEOs expect major returns on ESG investments to take at least three years.

Strong Business Performance Amid Global Instability:

88% of local CEOs report strong earnings and growth prospects, showcasing increased revenue compared to 2022. 

Despite global economic challenges, 84% anticipate their businesses growing by more than 2.5% over the next three years. 

A significant 40% express a high appetite for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) despite inflation and geopolitical pressures.

Collaborative Leadership Style Preferred:

UAE CEOs favor a collaborative leadership style, with 72% expecting employees to return to the office full-time. 

This marks an increase from 60% in the previous year. While 27% of CEOs worldwide envision hybrid working, only 20% in the UAE share this view, with 8% planning to allow fully remote work. 

The preference for in-person work suggests that UAE business leaders believe shared management and operational responsibilities lead to greater success.

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