Saudi Arabia Aims To Become Technology Powerhouse
By Arab News
Saudi Arabia is set to become a world class, technologically advanced country under the new economic strategy led by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to businesspeople.
Ihsan Bu-Hulaiga, chairman and founder of Joatha Consulting Center for Business Development, said there was no doubt the government was committed to the goals outlined in Vision 2030 and its operational plan, the National Transformation Program, a local publication reported Monday.
He said this would result in the country diversifying its sources of income and reducing its dependence on oil. This would be a major step forward from the 1970s when the country first started to export petrochemical products, he was quoted as saying.
“The diversification of income sources will not start from zero because the Kingdom already provides excellent services that make up about 40 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. But the big challenge remains to increase the contribution of technology, including digital activities, knowledge industries and retail services,” said Bu-Hulaiga.
He said these challenges would be solved because the deputy crown prince has now met with chief executive officers of some of the world’s largest companies during his visit to the United States including from Boeing, Raytheon International, Lockheed Martin International, Dow, Microsoft and Cisco, which are worth over $800 billion. In addition, there would be technology transfers from other companies after he met with the chief executives of Facebook and Twitter.
Mohammed bin Khamis, a businessman, said the visit of Prince Mohammed to America would have significant benefits for citizens over the long term, including developing science and research capabilities, the wider participation of the private sector and investments by major players.
“This visit has been the longest and most important for the economy. It comes at a time when the global economy is suffering from slow growth and uncertainty, especially after Britain’s exit from the European Union,” he said.
He said the visit would allow the country’s massive sovereign fund to seize opportunities through acquisitions and taking stakes in companies to create another source of income for the country. This has already happened with the investment in Uber, he said.
He said Prince Mohammad was demonstrating to everyone, particularly the country’s young people, that the government was taking concerted action to ensure the long-term sustainability of the economy, which would ultimately benefit all citizens.