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30 November 2023

Saudi's huge investment in IT to create opportunity for global firms

By VM Sathish

Huge government investments in IT projects in Saudi Arabia will create many new greenfield opportunities for global infotech companies.

Saudi Government is spending $1 billion (Dh3.6bn) on e-transactions, which will create new opportunities for Oracle, said Abdul Rahman Al Thuhaiban, Vice-President at Oracle for Middle East and Africa, and Managing Director for Oracle Saudi.

The government has tendered for Sadaat, a central bank-owned company for e-payment hub, and about 50 e-schools are ready through the Tatweer programme.

He said Oracle has been working closely with Sadaat.

Saudi Arabia is currently developing the Knowledge Economy City (KEC) in Medina, a SR30 billion ($8bn) project by the Saudi General Investment Authority covering 4.8 million square metres. The project is expected to generate 20,000 new job opportunities from knowledge-based industries.

The 36 million sqm Kusat campus, located 80 kilometres from Jeddah, is only for Masters and PhD programmes. "Compared to just eight universities earlier, now there are 30 major universities in Saudi Arabia," he said and added that the government education budget has been growing.

He said the Saudi Government has been investing heavily to develop world class universities such as King Abdul Azizi University, King Saudi University, King Fahd University and Al Faisal University.

Oracle has been a close partner of Saudi Government in many IT ventures and training programmes and provides IT infrastructure for many e-government and e-payment programmes.

"Saudi IT sector is one of the largest and fast growing in the region with an annual market size of $5.5bn. The biggest challenge is to develop skilled manpower. There are many manpower capacity building initiatives under way," he said.


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