Saudi Arabia sets sights on becoming leading digital economy

Saudi Arabia sets sights on becoming leading digital economy
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Updated 11 March 2021

Saudi Arabia sets sights on becoming leading digital economy

Saudi Arabia sets sights on becoming leading digital economy
  • Saudi Cabinet approves establishment of Digital Government Authority

RIYADH: Saudi Cabinet approval on Tuesday for the establishment of Digital Government Authority (DGA) proves the Kingdom’s commitment to becoming a leading digital economy, experts said.

This will be achieved by adopting digital transformation in government services on a par with international standards, according to Mohammed Khurram Khan, a professor of cybersecurity at King Saud University, Riyadh.

“The newly approved authority will play an instrumental role in creating digital interactions, online platforms and electronic services between citizens to government, government to citizens, and government to businesses,” he told Arab News. “Consequently, it will unify and improve the efficiency of government departments by providing transparent, secure and cost-effective services.”

The authority will help prepare a national e-government strategy, and organize the work of digital government, including platforms, websites, services and e-government networks.

Khan said that the step highlights the Kingdom’s determination to have an integrated digital government with harmonized policies, strategies and regulations.

HIGHLIGHT

Digital Government Authority is responsible for building the national capabilities specialized in digital government to adopt and enable modern technologies, in addition to adopting policies related to the authority’s activities, plans, programs and projects necessary for its implementation.

Osama Ghanem Al-Obaidy, an adviser and law professor at the Institute of Public Administration in Riyadh, told Arab News: “The establishment of the DGA is a major step toward improving and enhancing digital services provided by various government agencies.”

He added that the authority will increase the efficiency of e-services, which will augment the return on government investment in digital services.

“This comes in line with Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to improve the Kingdom’s ranking to be among the top five countries in e-governance by 2030 and its ranking in the government effectiveness index to to be among the top 20 countries,” Al-Obaidy said.

He added that the Kingdom has achieved “tremendous strides” in the field of e-governence, and expanded services to include job searches, distant learning, traffic, passport, civil status and digital payments.

“The authority will simplify and facilitate the procedures (of provided services), diversify communication channels and tools, and support the use of digital applications by government agencies, such using government digital cloud, sharing data platform and managing human resources,” said Al-Obaidy.

He noted that the creation of the authority comes at a time when countries are changing to digital economies and transformation, and Saudi Arabia aims to be a leader in this new world of digital governance.

Abdullah Al-Swaha, minister of communications and information technology and chairman of the National Digital Transformation Unit, said that the authority opens up new horizons in digital government services through proactive and integrated digital services.

DGA is responsible for building the national capabilities specialized in digital government to adopt and enable modern technologies, in addition to adopting policies related to the authority’s activities, plans, programs and projects necessary for its implementation.

The minister also said that the authority will raise the efficiency of government digital business models and develop the talent of government employees.

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Saudi Arabia donates $3 million to support the Global Partnership Strategy for Education 2025

Education Minister Dr. Hamad Al Sheikh, speaking on behalf of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (Screenshot/Global Education Summit)
Education Minister Dr. Hamad Al Sheikh, speaking on behalf of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (Screenshot/Global Education Summit)
Updated 5 min 12 sec ago

Saudi Arabia donates $3 million to support the Global Partnership Strategy for Education 2025

Education Minister Dr. Hamad Al Sheikh, speaking on behalf of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (Screenshot/Global Education Summit)
  • The announcement was made during a global eductaion summit in London on Thursday

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pledged on Thursday $3 million to support the strategic plan of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) for the next five years.

The announcement was made during a global eductaion summit in London on Thursday.

“Saudi Arabia will always be a leader in providing support to everything that would achieve development, prosperity and peace for the people of the world,” said Education Minister Dr. Hamad Al Sheikh, speaking on behalf of the crown prince.

“The Kingdom has always attached great importance to education at local, regional and international levels. This is evidenced by the inclusion of education as a main issue on the agenda of the Kingdom’s G20 2020 presidency and the fact that education is a major component of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

He said the Kingdom has always ascribed great attention to education locally, regionally and internationally, which was evident by the inclusion of education as a core topic on the main agenda of Saudi G20 presidency last year, adding that it is also a core component of the Saudi Vision 2030.

“Moreover, Saudi Arabia is the biggest donor to regional financial organizations, such as the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the OPEC Fund for International Development and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa,” which provide support to several countries around the world through financing projects and initiatives in different fields.

He called for international cooperation and joint action to help low income countries and combine efforts in supporting international initiatives and programs that would enhance the economics of education and support educational systems in the beneficiary countries, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Al-Sheikh said GPE aims to improve access to equitable, inclusive education, bridge educational and digital gaps and address all forms of educational inequality, especially in low income countries, all of which are in line with the fourth UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 agenda.

As for other Gulf countries at the summit, the UAE pledged $100 million, Kuwait pledged $30 million and Dubai Cares donated $2.5 million, while IsDb $200 million in concessional loans.

 

 


Saudi Arabia announces 12 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 12 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 29 July 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 12 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 12 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 503,827
  • A total of 8,212 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 12 deaths from COVID-19 and 1,289 new infections on Thursday.
Of the new cases, 260 were recorded in Makkah, 253 in Riyadh, 220 in the Eastern Province, 100 in Jazan, 76 in Asir, 73 in Hail, 63 in Madinah, 42 in Tabuk, 41 in Najran, 30 in the Northern Borders region, 23 in Al-Baha, and 11 in Al-Jouf.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 503,827 after 1,299 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 8,212 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.
Over 26 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


Saudi Arabia sends medical aid to Malaysia amid rising coronavirus infections

Saudi Arabia sends medical aid to Malaysia amid rising coronavirus infections
Updated 29 July 2021

Saudi Arabia sends medical aid to Malaysia amid rising coronavirus infections

Saudi Arabia sends medical aid to Malaysia amid rising coronavirus infections
  • The equipment included essential medical and preventive supplies and equipment
  • The one million doses of the coronavirus vaccine will be provided in coordination with the Malaysian foreign minister's office

DUBAI: Medical aid from Saudi Arabia arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday to help tackle the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, state news agency SPA reported.

The equipment, sent by the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid, included essential medical and preventive supplies and equipment.

This move comes in implementation of the directives of King Salman, following the request of Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein during his call with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Meanwhile, the one million doses of the coronavirus vaccine will be provided in coordination with the Malaysian foreign minister's office. One of the approved international companies will supply the required quantities of vaccines directly from their factories to Malaysia.

Earlier on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia had sent medical aid to Uruguay to help the country in its fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

The equipment included 53 respirators and over 2.3 million surgical masks, in addition to protective clothing, medical gloves and other preventive supplies.


Saudi Food and Drug Authority seizes 412 tons of shrimp, fake food labels in Jazan

Saudi Food and Drug Authority seizes 412 tons of shrimp, fake food labels in Jazan
Updated 29 July 2021

Saudi Food and Drug Authority seizes 412 tons of shrimp, fake food labels in Jazan

Saudi Food and Drug Authority seizes 412 tons of shrimp, fake food labels in Jazan
  • Inspectors found modifications of data and expiry dates of the shrimps repackaged in new containers

JAZAN: Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) inspectors seized 412 tons of shrimp stocks after detecting fake food labels and product packages inside an illegal warehouse in Jazan region.

SFDA said that during the inspection and investigation operations, inspectors detected modifications of the data and the expiry dates of the product, which was repackaged in new containers.

The shrimp products, and packages and data labels were seized, in addition to another 500,000 labels bearing food data and cartons ready for packing.

As a result of the inspection, the authority closed the unlicensed warehouse and summoned those responsible for the facility to hear statements and complete the application of penalties and regulations against them.

According to food law and its executive regulations, the penalty for such violations can reach up to SR10 million ($2.6 million), in addition to a ban on the violator from practicing any food business for up to 180 days, as well as license suspensions and/or cancellations.

Violations of establishments under the supervision of the SFDA can be reported by calling the unified number (19999), or through its “Tameni” application available on the iOS and Android operating systems.

 

 


35,000 Saudi families benefit from Sakani housing scheme

35,000 Saudi families benefit from Sakani housing scheme
Updated 29 July 2021

35,000 Saudi families benefit from Sakani housing scheme

35,000 Saudi families benefit from Sakani housing scheme
  • Kingdom's Vision 2030 reform plan aims to raise the proportion of residential ownership to 70 percent

RIYADH: A total of 34,891 families benefited from subsidized mortgage loans through the Sakani self-construction program during the first half of this year.

Run by the Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs, and Housing and the Real Estate Development Fund (REDF), Sakani offers Saudis access to land and residential housing via financing solutions to help first-time homebuyers.

The Vision 2030 reform plan aims to raise the proportion of residential ownership in the Kingdom to 70 percent.

Sakani provided various residential products and financial solutions for 111,568 families in the first six months of the year, including 87,896 families that have already moved into new homes and its website and app are designed to simplify and speed up the purchasing process for readymade, off-plan, self-construction, and land products.

To qualify for a subsidized loan for self-construction, applicants must be entitled to residential support, own a residential land plot and have a valid building permit, have a fixed income, and must not have previously claimed housing support. Details are available at https://sakani.housing.sa/product/SC.

The scheme also provides an engineering design service with a range of high-quality, competitively priced options in partnership with experienced engineering offices. More than 36 distinctive and modern self-construction designs are available along with an approved contractor service.

The REDF offers more than 43 e-services for citizens as well as a real-estate adviser app and its online team provides around-the-clock support for those seeking subsidized funding.

Beneficiaries can call 199088 or contact the REDF on social media for information on housing and financial solutions, programs, and initiatives.