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KUWAIT - Telecoms & IT

Mazen Saad Ali Al-Nahedh

Minister of Commerce and Industry and Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Affairs,

Bio

Mazin Saad Ali Al-Nahedh serves as Minister of Commerce and Industry and Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology. Prior to that, he was CEO of Kuwait Finance House Group and held several positions in the Kuwaiti banking sector. Mazin Saad Al Nahedh received his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in finance from California State University. He has also completed numerous specialized executive programs, including the General Management Program (GMP) at Harvard Business School.

"The State of Kuwait, including its Ministry of Communication and Information Technology Affairs, recognizes the importance of digitalization and the true transformational power of digital systems and services."
Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Affairs has bold plans to enhance diversification by embracing the technologies of the future.
The COVID-19 pandemic led to an accelerated process of digitalization. What is the Kuwait Ministry of Communications and Information Technology Affairs’ perspective on the current level of development on this front?

The State of Kuwait, including its Ministry of Communication and Information Technology Affairs, recognizes the importance of digitalization and the true transformational power of digital systems and services. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated and facilitated an even stronger collaboration with the private sector and the results are platforms that enhance services provided by the government to citizens, residents, and businesses operating in Kuwait. Successful examples include the unified government apps of “Sahel” and “Sahel Business” as well as “Haweity,” or My Digital ID, Meta, a centralized government appointment booking platform, and many more. Since the pandemic, the public and private sectors’ potential has been realized through our collaborative focus on adopting smart technologies and our strategic partnerships and alliances with tech giants such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Huawei to accelerate the digital transformation further and optimize the quality of services to our citizens, residents, and businesses.

At the Ninth e-Government Forum, we heard about the close relationship between digital transformation and country’s development. What can be expected from the ministry’s efforts to implement Kuwait Vision 2035?

The Ministry will continue to work with its strategic technology partners to drive digital transformation across Kuwait’s public institutions. We are about to form the Central High Committee for Digital Transformation headed by the Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Affairs and all relevant ministers and government entities. The committee will be responsible of the country’s digital transformation master plan and unify all related projects under one umbrella. The ministry is supportive of all efforts to digitalize and collaborate to create diversification and transform the nation to a resilient regional and international financial and trade hub. Therefore, further development of information and communication technology infrastructure is a top priority for the ministry, and in correspondence to fulfilling Kuwait’s New Vision 2035, which seeks to develop and modernize our infrastructure and improve services and quality of life for all. The ministry is actively working toward making government services more efficient, transparent, and accessible to the public through digital transformation. This includes the implementation of e-government services and the use of digital technologies to streamline administrative processes. Additionally, the ministry is engaging and supporting the diversification of Kuwait’s economy by promoting the growth of new industries and technologies, such as big data, software development, AI, robotics, and virtual reality. We are building environments for innovation by promoting R&D, encouraging collaboration between academia and industry, and supporting startups and small businesses.

Cloud computing and cybersecurity have become essential to the country and organization’s safety and independence. How does the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology Affairs address these challenges and what projects or developments are planned for the coming year?

Recently, the Council of Ministers released a decree to establish the National Cybersecurity Center for the State of Kuwait. This center will proactively manage national threats and risks of cyberspace as well as secure state institutions within an integrated security framework of policies, procedures, standards, and technical controls, thereby securing Kuwait’s cyber infrastructure. The Ministry is working on raising awareness about cybersecurity among individuals and organizations in the country through various campaigns and training programs. We are at this point running Cyber Monday for all Kuwaiti government employees through CAIT in cooperation with the leading companies in the market such as Microsoft, Cisco, Palo Alto, Huawei, Trend-Micro, and Fortinet. The ministry is working on developing a comprehensive cloud computing strategy that enables organizations to securely adopt cloud technology and reap the benefits of cost-effectiveness, scalability, and agility. The ministry is also working to ensure that data privacy and security are maintained in the cloud through the proper governances, procedures, and policies currently under review by CITRA. We are excited about our recently signed deal with Google Cloud to establish three cloud-based centers in Kuwait; we look forward to more engagements with other technology partners in the near future. In the coming year, the Ministry is expected to continue its efforts to enhance cloud computing and cybersecurity in the country. This includes the implementation of cloud computing services, the expansion of cybersecurity initiatives, and the development of new technologies to enhance the security of online transactions and data.

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