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ICT Investments in Saudi Arabia To Hit SR 50 Billion

Saudi Arabia : 18 May 2011

The Economy and Planning Minister for the Kingdom, Khaled Al-Gosaibi, recently announced that investments in the Information and Communications Technologies (or ICT) are forecasted to hit SR 50 billion by the year 2015.

Al-Gosaibi stated that investments would total SR 37 billion (or $9.9bn) in 2013. Spending to boost and develop the sector climbed to SR 22.3bn back in 2009. The minister’s statements were made on the opening day for GITEX Saudi Arabia 2011, an event being held at the International Convention & Exhibition Center in Riyadh.

In terms of products, as well as service, the Saudi ICT sector has reported 18.5% growth from 2001 to 2009. Including both the private and the public sector, the overall investment reached SR 22.3bn by the year 2009 according to the minister.

The minister noted that the ICT investment in applications and services should reach SR 37 billion from now until 2013, creating the opportunity for more growth and further development.

He also stated that the Saudi Arabian GITEX event for 2011 included participants from well known IT firms all over the world and is the place to promote Saudi’s ICT sector and facilitate the transmission of knowledge. The minister added that the Kingdom is the biggest ICT market in the region, as evidenced by the active participation of large global industry players.

Many officials and representatives from a variety of ICT firms and government agencies, as well as leading business execs attended the opening ceremony.

There were about 400 exhibits originating from 16 nations that showcased the most recent ICT technology, as well as the developments within the booming ICT industry and the trends emerging.

The MCIT (or Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies) sponsored the event that lasted four days. It is the tenth International IT Exhibition and the premier event in the ICT sector attracting visitors by the thousands each day.

China, Egypt and Jordan have national pavilions set up at the event, as well as Pakistan, Taiwan and the UAE.

Dr Abdulrahman Al-Arainy is a consultant for the ministry and stated that the MCIT sees the GITEX event as key to the goals set out for the Saudi ICT sector.

There will be lectures on the sidelines from the NPCIT’s (or National Plan for Communications & Information Technology’s) General Secretariat who is targeting the creation of a national digital culture. An e-training development is also being launched at the event.

The e-trading program is a major focus of lectures from officials in the public sector, who will also highlight e-gate concepts in Saudi, as well as e-trading trends.

Al-Arainy stated that the GITEX exhibitions have helped to create one of the most advanced specialized events region-wide. The MCIT has a commitment to participate, as well as support these events, capitalizing on plans for development in the area.

Recently the Municipality of Riyadh emphasized a vision of the future where the e-municipality idea was just as prevalent as the e-government platform. More than 50 services have been developed in the e-gate for Riyadh, some of those being internal employee services.

Building permit issuances is one of the services currently available on the site.

Andrew Reid, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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