Competitive Governments. Information & Communication Technology (ICT) sector in Saudi Arabia

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1 Competitive Governments Information & Communication Technology (ICT) sector in Saudi Arabia

2 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in Saudi Arabia Global context on the ICT Sector ICT has had a significant impact in our daily lives over the last 20 years, and its transformation of our lives will only accelerate in the near future. Following this trend, IT spending is expected to increase to US$ 3.9 trillion in 2015, representing a %3.7 increase in spend levels over 2014, according to Gartner. The big data revolution, fueled by an astronomical growth in the creation and consumption of data, is impacting key economic sectors, including key Saudi sectors such as Oil & Gas (through digital exploration), Telecommunications (through global personal location data), and Manufacturing (through reductions in working capital requirements and product development costs). Cognitive applications or automation of knowledge work will soon perform an array of complex tasks (e.g., complicated medical diagnostics), leaving humans to do value-added tasks rather than automated tasks. Online platforms, on the other hand, are tapping into user-generated data and enabling e-business models, which are no longer optional but a necessity for business survival. Online ads make up %20 of global ad spend with growth rate of about %30 annually, and will soon overtake TV and newspaper media. Online review forums with millions of customer reviews of retailers (e.g., hotels, restaurants, etc.) and real time price-comparison sites are playing an even greater role in shaping consumers purchasing decisions. Applications running on mobile operating systems have rapidly evolved into complex interrelated ecosystems with estimated +200 million mobile app users growing at %+40 annually. Currently there are three quarters of a billion active ios and Android smart devices across all countries in the world. Opportunities in the Saudi ICT sector Information and Communication Technology represents a historic opportunity for developed and developing countries. Opportunities and impact potential can be realized across the financial, social, and labor market arenas. Financial impact, e.g., Bringing mobile broadband level in emerging markets to the same level seen in mature markets adds, on average, ~350 Bn USD to the world s GDP and creates 10 to 14 million new jobs. Social impact, e.g., Applications of digital technologies in education and healthcare, where the Middle East and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are already achieving significant momentum. For example, Junnah a Saudi-based Arabic online health platform, was launched in 2014, and, Xschool, a Saudi-based series of science-related YouTube videos, was launched in Labor market impact, e.g., Digital marketing, social media presence, and customer relationship management moving online enables governments and businesses to increase rural and female employment as well as consolidate services.

3 The ICT sector in Saudi Arabia, the largest in the Middle East, will continue to grow at a strong pace in the next years across Mobile, Broadband, and Internet Services. Mobile telecommunication market Total number of mobile subscriptions reached 51 million by Q and mobile penetration in Saudi Arabia is %169.3 which is the second highest in the region and fifth globally. Smartphone penetration stands at %73, ranking Saudi Arabia third globally (See Exhibit 1) Exhibit 1 Broadband market Demand for broadband has increased significantly compared to previous years, partially due to strong government support for high tech projects and e-government services. However, most internet usage in Saudi Arabia is targeted to social networking, business and enterprise applications, instant and social messaging, and service providers offer tailored broadband packages targeting different consumer and business segments The simultaneous launch of Long Term Evolution (LTE) network by all three mobile operators in 2011 made Saudi Arabia the first country in the region to offer widespread LTE services. Additionally, an increase of %28 of LTE shipments is expected in KSA by the end of Mobile broadband subscribers increased to 20.7 million, and demand continues to increase given the increased penetration of smart phones, and increased offerings of broadband packages by mobile operators for different user segments.

4 Internet service market Internet users in the Kingdom increased to 18.3 million by Q and customers are seeking higher internet speeds and larger data-sized packages resulting in heavy data traffic on both mobile and fixed network. This is caused by the increased usage of social networking application, video streaming, and gaming. Saudi population shows high digital propensity. For instance, Saudi has the highest Twitter penetration (see Exhibit 2) and the largest YouTube views per day with 90 million views daily Exhibit 2 Public and private sector initiatives in ICT The Saudi Government recognizes the importance of ICT development and has recently indicated unprecedented commitments on initiatives that will achieve leadership in ICT regionally if not internationally. These investments are paying off, with KSA ranked 6th in government ICT usage according to the World Economic Forum s Network Readiness Index 2014 The Government of Saudi Arabia is focusing its ICT efforts to implement and launch the second phase of the e-government initiative. Government entities are planning to integrate their portfolio of e-government services with Yesser, the national e-government authority. Yesser includes more than 875 e-services offered by 100 public sector agencies. Examples of public services agencies that are delivering full transactional e-services include Abshir from Ministry of Interior (MOI), and Baladi from Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs (MOMRA). Three major projects will be launched as part of the Yesser effort: Government Service Bus (GSB), Government Security Network (GSN), and the Saudi Government Portal.

5 In support of Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC) s goal to improve the quality and penetration of ICT services, encourage lower costs, improve customer care and increase job opportunities for citizens, CITC recently announced the licensing of MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) to be hosted on all mobile cellular networks in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Two new MVNOs (Jawraa Lebara,Virgin Mobile) entered the market during In Education, the Saudi Government has allocated 56 Bn USD to be partially spent on technology focus areas. All 25 public universities in the Kingdom have deployed student information systems and most have deployed learning management systems. Additionally, the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) has invested in Safeer, a cloud-based system built to enhance the educational and administrative processes for Saudis studying abroad. In Healthcare, the Saudi Government has allocated ~29 Bn USD to be partially spent on the development and execution of the KSA ehealth strategy including the digitalization of the healthcare management systems, clinical automation, Electronic Health Records and in other areas (e-services, cloud, mobility, server and desktop virtualization, picture archiving and communication system, telemedicine, patient monitoring systems). IT spending in the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector crossed 1 Bn USD in The BFSI sector spending almost represents %10 of overall IT spending. Use of online and mobile banking services in the Kingdom is expected to surge as customers gain greater confidence with their usage. Growing regulatory demands from authorities such as SAMA and CMA (e.g., for BASEL III) are driving Saudi banks to adopt international best practices by improving processes, control and traceability capabilities. Compliance requires deployment of more sophisticated ICT solutions including strengthening of existing banking systems, security and risk management systems. In the labor sector, the Saudi Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) has recently invested heavily in national electronic and internet-based initiative specifically targeting both job seekers and employers. For instance, Doroob, an initiative launched this year, leverages the power of Blended learning technology in the context of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) education and more broadly offers e-learning and on the job training (OJT) to employers and job seekers alike. HRDF recently identified ICT sector as high priority given high potential for Saudi employment. In the oil and gas sector, a recent security breach was perceived as a big shock to the sector and as a result IT security investments have picked up significantly in this industry.

6 Call to action The digital economy in Saudi Arabia holds great promise, but requires careful planning and enhancement at the national and industry levels. The Kingdom possesses the right set of ingredients to harvest to its potential, but needs to create and maintain a clear vision, strategy and policy, to ensure productive investments are pursued with energy and momentum, in a way that builds and maintains trust between the citizens, businesses and government. The public and private sectors need to go hand in hand to further foster growth and innovation in ICT. In the private sector, Saudi companies need to invest more heavily in their human capital, build a vibrant ecosystem through healthy partnerships with established global partners, rethink their business models to adapt to the growing online trends, and engage in trust-based partnerships with the KSA Government In parallel, the Saudi Government will constantly refresh its ICT strategy based on evolving trends, and with set measurable goals to evaluate progress. It has a crucial role to subsidize and incentivize ICT-related initiatives of all sizes, scale up the implementation of targeted public programs to foster world-class education and research, and to stimulate innovation growth. It can achieve these aspirations through public-private partnerships, and through effective public policies to protect privacy, consumer rights, data security, and foster entrepreneurship in this critical sector.

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