Is Saudi Arabia’s ICT Market truly the Biggest in the Middle East :
The Middle East is a region that thrives on its innovative and technologically driven practices. For example, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, its Information and Communication Technology sector has experienced growth in the last few years. Between 2019 and 2021, Saudi Arabia’s ICT sector grew by 8%, hitting a value of about $32.1 billion.
How the government of Saudi is driving ICT growth
After the Vision 2030 plan’s launch by the government, Saudi Arabia has expanded its efforts in transforming its IT sector. For example, the country seeks to grow its ICT sector’s contribution to the GDP from 3.6 percent in 2017 to 4.6 percent in 2023.
This 2023 strategy outlines the creation of 25,000 jobs in the IT sector, increasing the size of the market and other emerging technologies by 50 percent, and raising the sector’s contribution to GDP by $13.3 billion. In addition, Saudi Arabia has added 37,000 telecommunication towers covering about 99% of the country.
The ICT sector of Saudi Arabia covers Cybersecurity, the Internet of things, AI, Cloud Computing, and so on. The development of these technologies can make Saudi’s ICT market the biggest in the Middle East.
- IoT: The International Data Corporation estimates that the IoT market in Saudi Arabia will reach $2.9 billion in 2025, with a compounded annual growth rate of 12.8 percent. Through its innovative construction of Smart cities within and outside its region, Saudi Arabia aims to be the world’s most connected and digitized nation by 2030.
- Cybersecurity: According to the Information and Telecommunication Union, Saudi Arabia has the largest cybersecurity industry in the Middle East. The Saudi Arabia cybersecurity market was valued at $3.6 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $9.8 billion by 2026.
- AI: According to the Saudi Ministry of Communications and IT, the AI market in the region is expected to exceed $35 billion by 2030.
- Cloud computing: In 2019, the government of Saudi Arabia introduced its Cloud First Policy. This move showed the government’s commitment to widespread cloud adoption across its public and private sectors. By July 2021, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology launched an $18 billion plan to build a network of data centers across the country.
These progressive efforts by the Kingdom to improve its IT sector can make its ICT sector the biggest in the Middle East. The International Data Corporation has also termed Saudi Arabia’s ICT sector one of the fastest-growing ICT markets in the Middle East. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia is expected to spend over $32.9 billion on its ICT sector in 2022, according to the IDC.
With IDC forecasting global ICT spending to increase from $3.86 trillion in 2021 to $5.34 trillion by 2025, Saudi Arabia’s contribution to the MENA region’s technological growth and the world is particularly significant.
To sum it up, Saudi Arabia is an economy with tremendous opportunities for technological growth. Its governmental policies to achieve a digital transformation, in addition to foreign investments, have contributed to the exponential ICT growth of the Kingdom. With this trajectory, Saudi Arabia is set to be one of the foremost ICT sectors by market value in the Middle East and, as time goes on, globally.