Saudi Arabia’s latest efforts to develop human capital in the technology sector have been lauded by two prominent American corporations during Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s official visit to the US.
In meetings with Microsoft and Cisco Systems, the Deputy Crown Prince successfully produced a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with both corporations, cementing the Kingdom’s commitment to advance its telecommunications capabilities and the technological expertise of its youth by 2030.
The Kingdom’s focus on youth as an engine of economic growth is reflected in its efforts to empower citizens from an early age through training programs and expanded employment opportunities.
“One of the things we have found is when you have a broad agenda like the kingdom has around human capital development it has to start right in your primary to middle schools all the way into the industry,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
Many international observers have pointed to the Kingdom’s investment, valued at $3.5 billion, into Uber as evidence of its far-reaching vision. Partnership with Uber is reported to be an important step in engaging Saudi youth who possess skills highly sought after by international corporations.
Technology and Telecommunications Drive Kingdom’s Economy
Collaboration with Cisco Systems will improve the quality of digital services offered to the Saudi population in coordination with local providers and investors.
The digital economy has emerged as a promising sector in Saudi Arabia to facilitate industrial efficiency and rapid communication between those involved in today’s markets. As the Kingdom aims to foster a vibrant private sector, it is in the process of improving the tools its citizens need to conduct business with local and international stakeholders. By 2030, the government strives to increase private sector contributions from 40% to 65% of the national GDP.
Technology use and digital engagement in Saudi Arabia is high, pointing to a large user base and population with high technological literacy. In 2015, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology identified 21.6 million Internet users in the Kingdom, indicating a digital penetration rate of 68.5%. Mobile subscriptions numbered 53 million by the end of 2015.
As part of Vision 2030, the Saudi government will ensure that 90% of houses in cities receive high-speed broadband coverage. A national council will provide oversight on infrastructure development to guarantee that residents enjoy competitive digital access.
Read more at Al Arabiya.