The Business Year

Technology is key to fulfilling Saudi Arabia's wish for a diversified economy.

Nabil Al-Amoudi

Former Minister, Transport

95% of smartphones today are made by chipsets made in partnership with Saudi companies. Some 40% of the innovative material in these smartphones are made in Saudi Arabia by ARM and SABIC. Saudi Arabia is transforming at the speed of light, leveraging its factor-driven economy and leadership as the 18th largest economy to leapfrog into the future powered by digital with our global and regional partners. This started with the announcement of Vision 2030, the most audacious, once-in-a-lifetime journey of transforming a nation at the heart of the Arab and Muslim world and an investment powerhouse. Already USD100 billion has been committed to fund the Vision, making it the largest tech fund in the world. Our ambition to create a thriving and dynamic economy is underpinned by a national digital agenda that will empower women and fulfill lives. Second, it is about how a digital economy can supercharge the existing one and leapfrog it into the future. 10% of global trade is now digital, and Saudi is one of the fastest-growing opportunities for digital in commerce and trade.

Ajlan Al Ajlan

Chairman of the Board, Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry

NIDLP is one of the 13 programs launched by the Kingdom as part of its Vision 2030, and it owns many of the initiatives in the transport and logistics sector. The success, movement, and development of that sector is contingent on the success of the program. This integrates industry with logistics to ensure that logistics has a competitive advantage for the development within the Kingdom as well, using Industry 4.0 technologies to connect the different sectors. In terms of e-commerce, we are witnessing a large increase, which will affect how last mile delivery is organized. There is great interest from the major global delivery firms to expand their operations in the Kingdom. We are encouraging them to invest in the main consumption areas. Already, they are building up their warehouse capacities to become more centered here, while applying the latest technologies of smart logistics.

Mohanad A. Dahlan

CEO, Mohanad A. Dahlan

We hope to increase the depth of the insurance market in the Saudi economy. Compared to other countries, this sector is currently smaller than it should be. Increased activities in the insurance sector will ultimately better serve the Saudi economy. We strive for a broadening of insurance offerings and our regulations are intended for that. We are working on a financial sector development program (FSDP) to strengthen the insurance sector by increasing the number of insurance products. Compared to the much higher rates in many other countries, our production and saving programs are still weak. We need to promote awareness and the importance of saving and protection. We want to encourage people to take out insurance on properties in particular. In order to strengthen funding and capacity building, we launched a sandbox. The purpose of this is to strengthen the work on financial technologies, giving all business owners, in particular small businesspeople, the chance to enter the financial services arena.

Amr A. Banaja

CEO, General Entertainment Authority

Vision 2030 formulated a broad range of objectives, improvements, and projects to increase the standard of living in Saudi Arabia. Riyadh, as the capital, is a fundamental part of this vision. Within the chamber of commerce, there are 170,000 registered commercial entities; we provide them with information, contacts, and other support services, as well as the opportunity to participate in our various committee meetings. It is important that our members voice their concerns and challenges so we can improve the business environment together. Riyadh is currently under a visibly rapid transformation. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is focused on transforming Saudi Arabia in the next 20 years. In the next five years, the Saudi economy and many aspects of life in the Kingdom will fundamentally change. The cabinet and other government entities are changing their way of working, and there are clear KPIs now. The pace of transformation reminds me of a marathon, and it is exciting to see people coming together and working together to achieve great things.

Saad Alkhalb

President, Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani)

NIDLP seeks to transform Saudi Arabia into a leading industrial powerhouse and a global logistics hub in promising growth sectors with a focus on Industry 4.0. There are 34 governmental entities working together with NIDLP to implement more than 300 initiatives. We also seek to improve the competitive environment by providing the necessary enablers such as better policies and regulations, financial enablement, infrastructure and industrial land development, special economic zones (SEZ), R&D support, and export development. NIDLP also aims to leverage unexploited natural resources, which are estimated to be worth around USD1.33 trillion, take advantage of the demand in the region to stimulate new industries, and transform the economy into a model based on PPPs. When we designed our initiatives and strategies, we took into consideration the geographic diversity and human and natural resources distribution of the country to make our program an effective tool in field planning and ensuring balanced development between the different regions.

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