- Published: 06 July 2019
Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technology Haytham Bin Abdulrahman Al-Ohali has asserted that the Saudi leadership pays great attention to futuristic industries as part of efforts to enrich the citizen's life and meet his needs.
He said this was in line with the three main pillars of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030: a prosperous economy, vital society and ambitious nation, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Al-Ohali made the remarks during his participation in the "Innovation Week" organized by Singapore, within the "Smart Nation" Initiative launched by the country's Ministry of Communications and Information.
He said the Kingdom successfully implemented a national agenda for digitizing the country by building a strong infrastructure, which increased the speed of wireless internet four times surpassing the global average, increased the fiber optic network coverage by 50 percent to more than 1 million additional houses, and provided 100 percent access to the Internet in remote areas, contributing to the spread of e-government.
"Henceforth, the situation in the Kingdom, for the time being, is possibly conducive to issuing commercial licenses within a maximum of 24 hours, renewing citizens’ passports in 5 minutes and issuing a digital authorization in less than 10 minutes," the minister said.
Al-Ohali stressed the importance of digital transformation in providing the best integrated e-services to the beneficiaries, in line with the best international standards, its role in raising productivity and performance efficiency, reducing costs and enhancing the quality of life in Saudi society.
He said the Kingdom endeavored to support digital transformation by introducing curricula in artificial intelligence in 11 out of 30 universities in the country, establishing a national academy for information technology, continuing the programs to build digital capabilities of Saudi cadres, and providing greater support to the fields of innovation and technological entrepreneurship.
In this connection, Al-Ohali stressed the necessity to support entrepreneurship and innovation in the public and private sectors to provide sophisticated solutions and totally do away with conventional solutions and services, encourage government agencies to adopt sophisticated technologies so as to upgrade the system of governance and increase the tempo for grabbing digital revolution opportunities in implementing the Vision 2030.
Al-Ohali further said the Kingdom was the first country in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to grant licenses in the field of Internet of Things with the objective of supporting the sector, which is expected to create a market with a value exceeding $12 billion.
The Kingdom is investing some $1 billion to support the artificial intelligence sector while focusing on startups, research and development and development of skills, he added.
Al-Ohali said the fruitful partnership with the private sector enabled the Kingdom to achieve on the ground the biggest and fastest growing technology markets in MENA, whose volume is expected to exceed $35 billion by 2030.
Al-Ohali lauded Singapore’s initiative in holding the “Innovation Week” and the resulting formation of bilateral alliances and partnerships, as they represent an important gate to achieving a new technology cooperation that will take the two countries to pioneering positions, and wider horizons and fields of more advanced and sophisticated cooperation.
He called on the various authorities and companies working in the local and international arenas to achieve closer rapprochement and strengthen joint cooperation so as to achieve the optimum benefit from the outcomes of the fourth industrial revolution.
Over 15,000 guests from different parts of the world participated in the events of the “Innovation Week”, whose aim was exchange of knowledge in the economy, society and government fields. The Week, which concluded on Friday, comprised many events, most important of which was “The Smart Nation Summit”.
Quelle/Source: Saudi Gazette, 29.06.2019