CAIRO: As worldwide business leaders integrate automation and digitalization into their strategies, the Kingdom has been calling for local initiatives to drive digital transformation into its economy.
Since 2006 Saudi Arabia has had an established plan for digitization, called to the National Strategy for Digital Transformation.
As the world swiftly adopted digital strategies after the pandemic put in place a huge need for physical interaction alternatives, Saudi Arabia itself was able to quickly establish a framework for digital transformation in sectors including finance, commerce, logistics and information technology.
The action plan was divided into three phases. It is currently in its final stage, the Smart Government Strategy, which aims to create a new seamless government experience for beneficiaries by 2024.
In line with the action plan, several government authorities have established regulatory sandboxes using digital technologies to allow businesses and startups to experiment in a controlled environment. A sandbox is a testing environment in a computer system in which new or untested software or coding can be run securely.
One of the most active sandboxes is at the Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA, which aims to boost the financial sector and transform it into a smart financial hub.
SAMA has admitted 38 companies into its sandbox while providing licenses to several businesses that use financial technology in their operations.
The Communication and Information Technology Commission provides a sandbox for delivery applications, and the Digital Government Authority enhances organizational solutions in digital platforms and services.
The Kingdom has also encouraged using artificial intelligence to achieve Vision 2030 and Smart Government Strategy objectives.
The strategy is expected to set Saudi Arabia’s AI market to touch $135.2 billion by 2030, which is estimated to contribute 12.4 percent to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product.
Saudi Arabia also intends to transform its workforce by educating and establishing a reservoir of 20,000 AI and data qualified experts, of which 5,000 will be given deep expertise and highly certified.
The Global AI Summit held in Riyadh on Sept. 13 has been another significant leap into the evolution of the sector, with global leaders partnering with several Saudi-based companies.
The event witnessed the launch of Aramco’s Global AI Corridor project that aims to build and commercialize the AI ecosystem in the Kingdom, in addition to over 40 agreements and partnerships in the public and private sectors.