Intelligent CIO Middle East Issue 47 | Page 9

NEWS Eighth edition of Arabnet Riyadh to connect KSA Minister says KSA’s ICT strategy will shape future innovation T he Council of Ministers has endorsed a five-year strategy for the communications and information technology sector in KSA. KSA’s ICT Strategy 2023 is aimed at accelerating the sector’s growth by 50% and raising its contribution to the GDP by SR50 billion. HE Eng Abdullah Al-Swaha, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, said the new strategy is a result of the unlimited support to the sector from the Kingdom’s leadership in order to serve the country and achieve public welfare. He noted that the strategy had been set to be a roadmap for the future of the Kingdom in innovation and the digital economy, by developing Saudi digital capabilities and attracting foreign technical investments. He explained that the strategy of the ICT sector would contribute to the improvement of various development activities and increase the performance of the public and private sectors. He also indicated that the aim is for KSA to become among leading global countries in the field of ICT. K SA’s largest digital gathering is back for its eighth edition in December at a new venue. Arabnet will this year take place on December 10 and 11 at Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center. For the second consecutive year, Arabnet will feature two events under one roof. They are: ‘Arabnet Riyadh’ for 2,000 plus corporate executives and senior government leaders and ‘Inspire Saudi’ for 4,000 plus entrepreneurs, youth and students. The conference will bring together more than 250 experts and speakers from around the world, with a full programme covering a range of topics: ‘Inspire Saudi’ for start-ups and investors; ‘Ad/Edge’ for digital media and advertising; ‘Finverse’ for digital banking and fintech; ‘Digital Policy Forum’ for senior government leaders; ‘CIO Forum’ for CIOs, CTOs and senior IT decision makers; and ‘Investor Summit’ for investors. The event will also bring together 300 plus exhibiting start-ups in the largest tech entrepreneurship showcase to take place in the Kingdom and the region, alongside more than 150 investors representing more than US$1 billion in capital. The ICT Strategy 2019–2023 features 13 priorities aligned with the goals of KSA’s Vision 2030 and is linked to eight programmes to achieve the vision. It supports technology localisation efforts in KSA through a 50% increase of the local workforce by the year 2023. It will also attract foreign investment and contribute to empowering women. This year’s programme is also decked out with various initiatives bringing together inspirational and successful leaders and entrepreneurs. Another notable part of the event, ‘Ideathon’, is the go-to destination for brilliant ideas. Regional entrepreneurs will get to showcase these in front of a crowd of investors, incubators and media and digital professionals for a chance to win a US$5,000 prize. Abdullah Al-Swaha, Minister of Communications and Information Technology INTELLIGENTCIO 9