Al Sawaha: Youth engagement essence of development process

October 08, 2017

JEDDAH — Open data plays a pivotal role in enhancing communications infrastructure today, Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Eng. Abdullah Al Sawaha said.

Through open data, the Ministry can engage the public and take their feedback before introducing new programs, and even crowdsource ideas to develop the infrastructure, Al Sawaha stressed during an interview with Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum 17, convened in New York last month.

Open data will be crucial to programs such as ‘Adaa’, which measures the performance of public entities, and will be useful in helping enhance the security of similar programs, the minister said. Open data will be “the new lifeline for entrepreneurship in the Kingdom” as the Ministry is focused on finding solutions to not just today’s issues but also tomorrow’s, by partnering with youth, who are integral to any development process, he said.

During the course of the interview, Al Sawaha also discussed the Ministry’s vision, the infrastructure and the digital transformation plan.

In an answer to a question about the growing innovation-based measures in Saudi Arabia, Al Sawaha said the Kingdom today has a unique opportunity to achieve advanced technological development through youth engagement and empowerment.

The communications and information technology sector encounters challenges, mainly in attracting qualified individuals with technical competence. Another challenge is forging partnerships with international companies in line with Vision 2030.

Stating that the social transformation priorities have shifted, Al Sawaha said women empowerment and inclusion have become the norm, and cited instances of women holding high offices such as the chairwoman of the stock market and the head of the national digitization unit. — SG

October 08, 2017
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