Saudi Arabia launched a series of technology initiatives worth over $1.2 billion (SR4 billion) aimed at improving the digital skills of 100;000 Saudi youngsters by 2030.
The announcement was made at an event under name of Launch held on Wednesday; hosted by the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity; Programming and Drones (SAFCSP); as well as the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT); and the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA).
During the event; several multinational corporations including Amazon; IBM; Cisco; Oracle; Informa; and Microsoft; announced their partnership with the Kingdom to create digital capability centers and also innovation hubs for tech startups.
Minister of Communications and Information Technology Eng. Abdullah Al-Sawaha also unveiled the manufacture of the first Saudi-made smart chip to be used in military; civil and commercial applications.
He explained that these smart chips have a processing power that is also more than 60;000 times that is also used in the human journey to the moon; and in smart phones and also what giant companies; such as Apple; Google; Microsoft; Amazon; IBM; Sixo; Oracle and Alibaba use; which represent 60% of the power.
Faisal Al-Khamisi; chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity; Programming and Drones; said that Saudi Arabia aims to have at least one programmer out of every 100 citizens in 2030.
The head of the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority Abdullah Al-Ghamdi also said that Saudi Arabia aims to be one of the top 5 countries globally in AI; and also this requires the creation of 25;000 specialists' jobs in data science and also AI before 2030.
In addition; MCIT established the National Technology Development Program also with a budget of SR2.5 billion; with the goal of making the Kingdom the world's leading technology country.
The program launched its early products; Financial Security; to strengthen trust between tech companies and financial entities; as well as the SME loan guarantee program; Kafalah; which aims to provide up to 90 percent insurance of the financing value and with a volume of SR15million; so that technology SMEs can have a financial fund to cover their expansion plans and implement them.
Meanwhile; the Saudi Chinese eWTP Arabia Capital fund with $400m capital; which also seeks to support technology startups in the Kingdom; was also unveiled at the Launch event.
This investment came along after Alibaba Cloud chose Riyadh as its regional center for management and also training; with investments amounting to $500m over five years in the region.
The event on Wednesday also saw the launch of the Tuwaiq 1000 Bootcamp; which also ends in student employment and is supported by the MCIT's future skills initiative.
Projects in Saudi Arabia will be launched simultaneously in 13 regions around the country; with 40 training bootcamps focusing on four tracks: cybersecurity; programming; artificial intelligence; and further the electronic games sector.
The Launch ceremony also announced the introduction of the SATR platform for learning programming principles; which coincided with the launch of CoderHub; the first Arab portal specializing in programming challenges.
The event witnessed the partnership between Google and further Tuwaiq Academy that is part of (SAFCSP); in upskilling programs and the cooperation with OneMT; an electronic games company.
Moreover; the event marked the start of registrations for the Apple Developer Academy; the first of its kind in MENA; which will in its first phase focus on female developers and further programmers.
On Wednesday; MCIT; SAFCSP; and the General Entertainments Authority also launched two events — LEAP and @HACK — in collaboration with Informa.
LEAP will be held in Riyadh from Feb. 1-3; 2022; and will feature over 500 international speakers; exhibit technologies from over 1;000 of the world's tech companies and startups and is to attract at least 40;000 people.
Some of the topics that will be addressed at LEAP include artificial intelligence; Industry 5.0; robotics; smart cities; IoT; among other fields.
Thought leaders from companies including Google; Huawei; Microsoft and The Coca-Cola Company will deliver conference sessions at LEAP tackling issues from poverty; disease and environmental disaster to inequality; access to education; productivity; mobility and smart living.
Supported by Saudi Arabia's MCIT and further organized by Informa Tech; LEAP is also set to be a strategic initiative that aims to transform the national economy and position the kingdom as a visionary tech hub.
@HACK meanwhile; backed by the American hacking event Black Hat; will take place as part of Riyadh Season and further will feature the most advanced ethical hacking training sessions to help the country defend against the threat of hostile cyberattacks.
@Hack will also include the region's largest hacking tournament. Over 250 cybersecurity vendors will be present at the event including Fortinet; Malwarebytes; STC; SPIRE; Honeywell; Qualys; SentinelOne; Synack; and RSA.
The event is being organized in support of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 and further SAFCSP's aim to make one out of every 100 Saudi nationals a programmer.
@Hack is the official Middle East facilitator and further distributor for offensive security; and also its security instructors will be among the 50 Black Hat authorized trainers running a training series in the run-up to the event; which will take place from Nov. 23-27.