Saudi Arabia to unveil tech initiatives for programmers and entrepreneurs

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Saudi Arabia will launch some of the region’s biggest tech initiatives for programmers and entrepreneurs next week as it seeks to expand its digital economic base.

The kingdom’s communications and information technology ministry will present the technology initiatives at a ceremony it is hosting next Wednesday, according to a report from the Saudi press agency.

The Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones will also join the ministry’s initiative, as well as several local public and private entities, as well as international companies.

Participants will “seize the opportunities of the digital economy and serve technology communities in Saudi Arabia, the Middle East and North Africa,” the ministry said.

Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s leading oil exporter, is trying to develop its technological sector and boost its digital economy. The kingdom sees digital transformation as one of the central pillars of its Vision 2030 program, which aims to reduce its dependence on oil.

The kingdom is investing heavily in big projects like the futuristic $ 500 billion city, Neom. It is also building the Red Sea, Qidiya, and Waad Al Shamal developments, all of which are tech projects with smart city infrastructure.

Riyadh has increased spending on digitizing government services and opening up its tech sector to foreign investors as part of its economic diversification program.

The country’s communications ministry said the initiatives unveiled next week “will help strengthen the kingdom’s role as a regional tech hub bringing together innovators, programmers and entrepreneurs from various tech sectors.”

Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy, competes with other regional tech hubs such as the United Arab Emirates, which offer long-term visas to entrepreneurs and tech professionals around the world.

The UAE recently signed an agreement with a host of tech companies like Google and Amazon to train 100,000 programmers and coders over the next five years and create 1,000 digital businesses to boost their economy.

Update: Aug 24, 2021, 8:47 a.m.

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