Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump is sending $50 billion to Saudi and Bahrain governments to fight cybercrime, as part of a multiyear cybersecurity effort to bolster the US economy, a White House official said Thursday.
The official, who was not authorized to discuss the initiative publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the money would be used to invest in the development of cybersecurity technologies and cybersecurity research to increase cybersecurity capabilities in the United States.
The announcement came after Trump signed legislation Thursday that makes it easier for US companies to sell cybersecurity products to Saudi citizens and residents.
It also aims to provide more funding to US-based companies that build, manufacture and sell cybersecurity tools.
It was not immediately clear how much money the Saudi and U.S. governments would receive.
Saudi Arabia has been the world’s biggest consumer of cybersecurity tools and services, and U,S.
companies have long used Saudi Arabia as a base for their work.
The U.K. and Israel have also invested in cybersecurity, but the Obama administration, which was in power from 2009 to 2021, was one of the few to invest heavily in it.
The Saudi-led effort aims to combat “terrorism-related cyber threats” by bolstering the country’s cybersecurity capabilities and by strengthening its government’s cyber capabilities.
The White House did not provide details on the amount of money the Saudis and the Bahrains would receive or say whether they would receive any in return for their assistance.
The United States is a key supporter of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, both of which have been targets of cyberattacks and have had to shut down key infrastructure and reduce their security systems.
The Trump administration has said that the Saudi-Bahrain relationship was a key factor in the country being selected as the 2022 host of the World Cup soccer tournament.
It said the United Kingdom and Israel are among the nations that have expressed interest in hosting the tournament, though the U.N. has not yet approved the tournament.