Saudi Arabia's digital dreams coming true, says minister

Saudi Minister for Communications and Information Technology says kingdom is welcoming firms to trial new ideas
“We are open for business, inviting partners to join hands with us on this exciting journey and use the Kingdom as a destination to trial innovative new ideas,” said Saudi Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Abdullah Alswah.
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Thu 25 Jan 2018 01:32 PM

Saudi Arabia has “gone a long way” towards delivering Saudi Vision’s 2030 of a “digital nation”, according to Saudi Minister for Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Alswaha.

Speaking during a panel session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Alswaha said that the kingdom is embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s spirit of innovation.

“We have gone a long way in delivering on Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. Starting with the strategic pillars of the vision, the first one being that we are at the heart of the Muslim world,” he said. “Today, we are both the largest economy and the largest technology market in the region.

“We are open for business, inviting partners to join hands with us on this exciting journey and use the Kingdom as a destination to trial innovative new ideas,” he added.

Alswaha added that this policy is integrally linked to Saudi Arabia’s goals of becoming an investment powerhouse.

““We are balancing the build, acquire and partner approaches to development,” he said. “In the way that we have partnered, through the Vision Fund, with the likes of ARM, WeWork and Slack, we are also super charging the economy with investment, including three billion dollars going to connecting more than two million homes, schools and healthcare providers with high speed fibre in addition to enabling a nationwide rollout of a 5G network.”

Investments in technology and Saudi Arabia’s strategic geographic position, he added, will come together at NEOM, Saudi Arabia’s high-tech planned megacity.

“As we aspire to be the interconnection between three continents, we are establishing the hub for innovation, knowledge and technology transfer through NEOM, a city likely to have a population of more robots than people,” he said.

Alswaha is accompanied at the WEF by a number of other Saudi government officials, including Minister for Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih, Minister of Economy and Planning Mohammed Al Tuwaijri and Mohammed Al-Jadaan, Minister of Finance.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.