As the largest economy in the region and among the 20 most prominent globally, Saudi Arabia plans to establish a friendly investment environment and diversify its economy, further detaching the country from oil exports.
One of Saudi's mandates in Vision 2030 is to leverage modern technologies to transform traditional economic activities towards data and platform-based activity as the center of the digital economy.
Saudi Arabia's digital transformation will become a catalyst to promote the country's non-oil industries. Vision 2030 aims to position Saudi as one of the top five countries in e-governance and among the top 15 largest economies in the world.
The kingdom has expressed its digital economy strategy to provide accessible, high-quality internet to all segments of the society across the area, securing national networks from emergencies and disasters.
The digital infrastructure would become the economy backbone to promote investment activities and ensure business continuity by optimizing ICT procurement frameworks and business models.
Digitization would allow the adoption of a smart digital government concept, eventually providing transparent, secure, and more efficient service. So far, the e-government already takes place in job searching activities, e-learning, traffic monitoring, passport services, civil status, and digital payments.
This year, the Saudi authority plans to diversify communication channels and optimize the usage of digital cloud and sharing data platforms to manage human resources.
Saudi is already an early player in the 5G infrastructure, with the technology covering 45% of the country. The capital city, Riyadh, has recently risen from 71st place to 53rd place in the IMD Smart City Index for its digital infrastructure.
Saudi Arabia is now proactively intervening in human capital investment to fulfill IT specialists' demand as the industry's business rapidly grows.
The development of Saudi's digital economy has attracted various foreign investments from global tech companies. In the field of cloud technology, Google Cloud signed an agreement to set up the first cloud infrastructure to offer services to customers.
Chinese tech and retail giant, Alibaba, has also commenced a USD 500 million investment to establish high-performance cloud services through the company's cloud unit, Aliyun.
A Netherlands tech company, Philips, is also in collaboration with the country to establish the Saudi Arabia Data and the Artificial Intelligence Authority (SADAIA) to propel Saudi's AI adoption in its healthcare system.
SDAIA would work with Dell Technologies to deliver a wide array of services consisting of data analytics and enterprise storage.
Early this year, the government launched its plan to create a new smart city called The Line. The Line would cater to over one million residents without streets and carbon emissions by leveraging high-speed transit and autonomous mobility.
The landscape of Saudi's digital economy is rapidly evolving, causing the country to pivot from its previous reliance on the oil sector towards technology.
While Saudi's development gradually uncovered itself, the kingdom has already received lucrative foreign investments from global giants to ramp up the quality and speed of digital economy realization. Saudi Arabia remains a desirable destination for businesses and livelihoods to grow.