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Meta launches the Metaverse Academy in the MENA region

Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, has launched the Middle East and North Africa region’s first metaverse academy in Saudi Arabia, as it aims to accelerate the development of the emerging technology.

The academy, which will be based in Riyadh and start on May 1, focuses on shaping the metaverse ecosystem by providing training to a set goal of 1,000 individuals in its first 18 months, California-based Meta told The National on Tuesday.

The initial announcement was made by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology during Leap 2023 in Riyadh that took place last week.

Among the programs to be offered are those in extended reality, as well as raising awareness of the technology. Graduates will be equipped to pursue careers in the metaverse and its related fields, Meta said.

“The Middle East and North Africa region has all the assets to become an essential player in the development of the metaverse and embrace the benefits it will bring to the economy,” said Kojo Boakye, vice president of public policy for Africa, the Middle East and Turkey at Meta.

“The business landscape is already in high demand for skills and we are committed to collaborating with educational institutions and policymakers across the region to accelerate the development of the ecosystem and train the future builders of the metaverse.”

The metaverse, based on Web3, is the virtual space where people represented by avatars can interact. It is also poised to reshape workplaces and businesses by using new techniques to streamline operations.

Web3, meanwhile, is the emerging new concept of the World Wide Web, with blockchain, decentralisation, openness and greater user utility among its core components.

The technology is projected to contribute about $15 billion to GCC economies annually by 2030, led by Saudi Arabiaa December study from Strategy& showed.

The Arab world’s biggest economy is expected to account for more than half of the figure, or $7.6 billion, reflecting the aggressive programs the kingdom has in place to leverage the metaverse, it said.

Saudi Arabia hosting the academy bodes well for the region. The kingdom, along with the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar, already have regulations in place and programs encouraging the use of Web3 technologies.