Saudi Arabia appoints Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak as tech ambassador

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Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (right) accepting his appointment as "Ambassador of the Saudi Tech Hub" from Saud bin Abdullah Al-Qahtani, head of the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones, at the close of the Hajj Hackathon in Jeddah on Aug. 3, 2018. (Twitter photo)
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Saud bin Abdullah Al-Qahtani (left), head of the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Wozniak's wife Janet Hill Wozniak at the close of the Hajj Hackathon in Jeddah on Aug. 3, 2018. (Twitter photo)
Updated 04 August 2018
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Saudi Arabia appoints Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak as tech ambassador

  • Wozniak is considered as one of the most important minds that have changed the history of the world
  • Wozniak said there is a great chance that Saudi Arabia will be an important player in the evolving and changing technology community

JEDDAH:  The Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones (SAFCSP) has named Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak as an ambassador for the creation of a “Saudi Tech Hub.” 

Saud Bin Abdulla Al-Qahtani, the head of the federation and an adviser to the Royal Court, presented Wozniak with a special certificate marking the occasion on Friday, during the finale of the three-day Hajj Hackathon in Jeddah.

Al-Qahtani said the appointment of Wozniak reflects the federation’s desire to work with the best minds in the sector to help the Kingdom become the region’s technology hub.

“Perhaps the greatest evidence of the scale of these technical transformations in today’s world is that a company such as Apple has become the first public company in the world with a market value of one trillion dollars,” he added. “We are happy that its co-founder has agreed to be an ambassador to the Saudi Technical Hub.

“The huge interest in the technical and technological sectors is reflected in the general plans of the state, as it is one of the main objectives pursued by the Kingdom in its Vision 2030 under the supervision, follow-up and direct support of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”

Al-Qahtani thanked Wozniak for accepting the role of ambassador and his enthusiasm for it, describing him as one of the most important modern minds, who has helped to change the history of the world.

Wozniak said he was happy to accept the SAFCSP offer, explaining that he had been persuaded to do so by the remarkable development he has seen in Saudi Arabia’s approach to technology, which strengthens the nation’s vision for the sector. He said the success of this week’s Hajj Hackathon reflected the great interest among Saudis in programming and emerging technologies. There is every chance, he added, that Saudi Arabia will play an important role in the evolving and changing global technology community, and that that the country could soon be the main tech hub in the region.

Vision 2030 is fascinating, Wozniak said, adding that he is a fan and follower of the NEOM “city of the future” project in particular, which he described as an amazing idea.

“This is a remarkable success story in Saudi Arabia that can be written in the near future and will be an example to be followed internationally,” he said, adding that he is happy to support this by becoming a tech ambassador.


Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to India will boost robust interactions that New Delhi has established with Saudi Arabia over the last few years. (Supplied)
Updated 52 min 27 sec ago
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Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

  • New Delhi’s participation in Kingdom’s mega projects a major aspect of renewed ties: Talmiz Ahmad

NEW DELHI: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s first visit to India is a landmark development in bilateral ties between India and Saudi Arabia, according to Talmiz Ahmad, a former ambassador to Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia is India’s largest supplier of crude oil, but since taking office in 2014 Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought to use India’s growing economy to attract more investment from Saudi Arabia beyond energy, and foster cooperation on trade, infrastructure and defense.

Ahmad, author of several books on the Arab world and twice India’s Ambassador to Riyadh, said that while the backbone of New Delhi’s relationship with the Kingdom is energy, the two sides had been discussing “how to give greater substance and longevity to the relationship on the basis of concrete projects.”

Reuters reported this week that India is expecting Prince Salman to announce an initial investment in its National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, a quasi-sovereign wealth fund, to help accelerate the building of ports and highways. Saudi Arabia has also suggested investing in India’s farming industry, with an eye on food imports to the Kingdom. 

Ahmad said Saudi Arabia’s NEOM project, a $500 billion smart city in Tabuk province on the Egyptian and Jordanian borders, would also provide great opportunities for Indian companies. 

He added that Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the crown prince’s blueprint to fundamentally transform Kingdom’s economy, presents another opportunity for Indian businesses to prosper from the relationship.

“India is extremely well placed,” said Ahmad. “We are world leaders in small and medium enterprises and in the services sector. Saudi Arabia also has proposals to develop its tourism and leisure sectors, and I believe India is also well placed in those areas too.”

He also discussed how the strategic partnership had been initiated by former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who visited Riyadh in 2010, but that Modi, who visited in 2016, had added “considerable substance” to the relationship.

He stressed, though, that Riyadh’s ties with India are independent of its relationship with Pakistan. He added India and Saudi Arabia were also working together to improve the security situation in Afghanistan, to resolve the 17-year conflict between government forces and the Afghan Taliban, as well as in the wider West Asia region. 

“India has excellent relations with all the countries in West Asia, and New Delhi is well placed to address some of the concerns that all the countries have with each other,” he said.