Digital Acceleration in Saudi Arabia
Last Updated on November 8, 2023 by Ameer Hamza
Saudi Arabia has been in the news for its feats in the digital technology sector in recent years. Earlier in 2022, the country announced plans to build Neom— a world-class smart city. Two years before this announcement, Saudi Arabia signed an agreement with CISCO to strengthen 5G penetration in the kingdom. The Saudi Arabian government did not initiate these projects in isolation. They were targeted at one goal- to accelerate digital penetration in Saudi Arabia.
This article will discuss Saudi Arabia’s drive for digital transformation and recent projects that have accelerated the kingdom’s digital adoption.
Digital Transformation in Saudi Arabia
The quest to transform Saudi Arabia into a global hub for technology did not start recently. It can be traced to 2016 when the country launched Vision 2030. The goal of the Vision 2030 policy was simple: to transform Saudi Arabia into a modern state by leveraging digital technologies. Since the policy’s launch, the Saudi Arabian government has introduced numerous projects and initiatives to boost the country’s digital adoption.
For example, Saudi Arabia recently embarked on a goal to digitize all government services and activities. The policy was adequate, with many Saudi Arabian agencies connecting with users through digital technologies. However, the digital transformation goal did not stop there. According to EY, Saudi Arabia has managed to integrate technology into its public and private sectors.
Many of these feats can be attributed to specific policies that the Saudi Arabian government has launched to accelerate digital transformation in the country. They include:
Digital Government Authority:
The Saudi Arabian Council of Ministers recently established the Digital Government Authority to accelerate the achievement of a digital government in Saudi Arabia. The agency is responsible for creating policies to drive digital adoption across all Saudi Arabian public agencies. This strategy has helped accelerate Saudi Arabia’s digital transformation.
Saudi Arabia’s government took a proactive approach to its digital acceleration drive. The country realized its ability to boost digital adoption and technology investment heavily depended on creating a conducive environment. The government achieved this by introducing enabling laws to govern the activities of technology firms. For example, Saudi Arabia recently introduced the National Data Governance law that specifies how technology firms should process data of Saudi Arabians. Laws like this provide clarity to the technology sector.
Future Skills Initiative:
The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology launched the Future Skills Initiative to train Saudi Arabians in future digital skills. The initiative is expected to accelerate the kingdom’s digital transformation by creating skilled youths that would be able to develop innovations and boost the technology sector.
Saudi Arabia’s digital acceleration is the product of intentional policy-making and effective implementation. It sets the tone for other Middle Eastern countries to boost their technology sectors, implement digital adoption across governmental agencies, and upskill their youths. This way, more Middle Eastern countries can achieve digital transformation.
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