Saudi Arabia launches tech initiatives to boost Kingdom’s global ranking and create more startups

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Saudi Arabia launched a series of initiatives on Wednesday to enhance the Kingdom’s global ranking in digital areas such as artificial intelligence.

Among them is a new program called Hima, which aims to sup- port innovation in enterprises with a value of SR2.5 billion ($670 million), the Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Abdullah Al-Swaha, said at the launch event in Riyadh.

The minister said the Kingdom would increase the number of computer programmers for every 100,000 citizens as a way to measure the success of creating a capable workforce.

This growth would be sup- ported with the creation of many technical and digital academies in the Kingdom with leading international partners, he said.

Saudi Arabia aims to be one of the top five countries globally in AI, and this required the creation of 25,000 specialists jobs in data science and AI before 2030, said Abdullah Al-Ghamdi, head of the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority.

Saudi Arabia will see significant growth in all major areas of digital technology from the Internet of Things to cloud computing, increasing the entire size of the information and communication technology sector to $27 billion by 2025, Mohammed Al-Tamimi, governor of the Communications and Information Technology Commission, told a forum in Riyadh.

Similarly, the IoT market size is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 26 percent, while cloud services are expected to make up to 30 percent of the total ICT spend in the Kingdom by 2030, he said.

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