Astra Tech (Astra), a consumer technology holding group in MENA, has launched the first-ever Arabic ChatGPT in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) leveraging on expertise from the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), ushering in a new era of AI-driven solutions in the region. Integrated into the BOTIM app, the GPT has the potential to revolutionize access to services through conversational commerce.
BOTIM’s Arabic Chat GPT is an AI-powered platform that will cater to all BOTIM services, ensuring the information provided is always current and accurate by continuously sourcing the latest information from local markets. BOTIM GPT has the potential to revolutionize the Middle East, by offering various services like international money transfers, bill payments, government services, and weather checks. The platform is under development to expand in the upcoming months to include additional services such as BOTIM stores and healthcare services, making it the ultimate one-stop shop for users in the region.
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Abdallah Abu Sheikh, Co-Founder and CEO of Astra Tech, BOTIM’s parent company, stated: “BOTIM’s Arabic Chat GPT marks another significant step towards simplifying people’s daily lives and transforming the global tech industry while also enhancing the capabilities of our upcoming Ultra app. We are very excited to leverage the Arabic language modeling experts at MBZUAI to pilot the service on BOTIM for our select users as we train the model. The Middle East is poised to experience a 20% annual growth rate in AI by 2030, and the UAE is set to lead the region with an average annual contribution of nearly 35%. We are excited to be at the forefront of technological innovation and creating new opportunities with local academic collaboration.”
Sultan al Hajji, Vice President of Public Affairs and Alumni Relations, MBZUAI, added that “This new collaboration with Astra Tech underscores how the university’s research and subject matter expertise in natural language processing (NLP) is being deployed to address challenges and enable enhanced services for industries and their customers. We welcome further opportunities to align our scientific focus with the UAE and wider region’s vision for innovation in technology and communications.”
Initially, BOTIM GPT will be available to a select group of its 100 million-plus user base before gradually expanding in the near future. Following the testing phase, users can input their inquiries into the chat field, and the model will process the sentence, providing source URLs that redirect them to more information about a particular service of interest.
$500 mn in funding
Astra acquired Botim in January after buying FinTech platform PayBy and UAE-based home services app Rizek.
The company also secured $500 million funding in a round led by G42 in December and plans to acquire more tech platforms.
In early March, it teamed up with global payments company Mastercard to boost its digital payments services in the Mena region.
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