Minister: KSA close to becoming a fully digital economy

Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Sawaha during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. (SPA)
Updated 02 March 2019
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Minister: KSA close to becoming a fully digital economy

  • Kingdom seeking to become the largest digital market in MENA by the end of the next decade
  • Traditional technological sector is now worth $12 billion every year to the Saudi economy, with a further $10 billion from emerging IT markets

BARCELONA, Spain: Saudi Arabia’s communications minister, Abdullah Al-Sawaha, has said the Kingdom is making great progress in becoming a leading digital economy. 

Speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, he added that the country was seeking to become the largest digital market in the Middle East and North Africa by the end of the next decade, noting that, among other things, the contribution of the Kingdom’s smart cities projects to the GDP was expected to reach over $2 billion annually by 2030.

The traditional technological sector is now worth $12 billion every year to the Saudi economy, while emerging information technology (IT) markets already add a further $10 billion, making the country one of the most developed digital markets in the world. Those markets are only expected to grow as new developments create the potential for further investment. 

Al-Sawaha expressed optimism for the future, stating that Saudi Arabia was uniquely positioned to take advantage of its own history and strengths to make more progress in the IT sector. He highlighted the successes the Kingdom has had in crowd control advances, from its experience in managing pilgrims during the Hajj, from electronic registration programs and facial recognition technology to smart parking systems to ease the visits of millions of people every year.

He added that other sectors, like health, were benefiting from similar advances, allowing hospitals to improve patient waiting times, efficiency of diagnoses, and even the quality of treatment as a result of technology. By 2030, the digital health sector alone was expected to contribute half-a-billion dollars to annual GDP, while other areas forecast to grow, including augmented reality techniques and automation, could add an additional $4 billion.

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Al-Sawaha concluded, could be proud of its achievements in providing a strong digital infrastructure. That, he said, had eased the transition the country was making toward becoming a fully fledged digital economy and, he reasoned, allowed everyone from ordinary citizens to multinational businesses to accelerate progress in almost all sectors.


Coordinated Arab efforts urged to overcome challenges

Updated 16 July 2019
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Coordinated Arab efforts urged to overcome challenges

CAIRO: Dr. Khalid Al-Ghamdi, chairman of the Arab Media Standing Committee and general supervisor of foreign media at Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Media, called for coordinated Arab efforts to overcome regional challenges particularly the Palestinian issue and terrorism.
Al-Ghamdi was presiding over the committee’s 93rd session held at Arab League’s headquarters in Cairo on Sunday.
He said the meeting discussed a number of key issues including the Arab Media Charter of Honor. It was, Al-Ghamdi said, a continuation of previous meetings to discuss their outcomes and review the results in the light of proposals put forward by different member Arab countries.
The meeting was also attended by Arab League’s Assistant Secretary-General for Social Affairs Ambassador Badr El-Din Alali, Counselor Fawzi Al-Ghwail, director of the technical department of the Council of Arab Information Ministers, representatives of Arab member states, representatives of Arab information ministries and the heads of Arab media agencies and institutions.
Alali said the Palestinian question continues to remain the main issue in addition to the terrorist threats, sustainable development and the Arab image in the West.
“Implementing the Arab Media Strategy and improving media practices using the latest technologies is vital for media to effectively contributing to awareness programs and supporting the region’s vital issues.”
He said the inclusion of the Arab Media Charter of Honor and media education to the agenda is of great importance.
He also express resolve to counter the phenomenon of fake news and that the Arab media is serious about countering this problem.