Saudi’s connected future requires deepening collaborations in local talent ecosystems

November 19, 2020
Terry He ... CEO of Huawei Tech Investment Saudi Arabia
Terry He ... CEO of Huawei Tech Investment Saudi Arabia

By Terry He

Today the information and communications technology (ICT) sector forms the building blocks of more intelligent societies.

This sector, and the people who work within it, are helping to drive Saudi industries and businesses forward. This provides the momentum for socio-economic growth while contributing towards the realization of Vision 2030.

Nurturing local talent as an integral part of the Kingdom’s overall ICT ecosystem is also spreading advantages to all other sectors and industries.

A strong talent pool is therefore essential for Saudi Arabia to reap the full benefits of digitalization, to unlock more opportunities for people and business, and to accelerate national recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.

A talent-focused and “innovation” mindset is the only way to addresses the requirements of a more digital-centric and sustainable future.

The essential role of connectivity has never been more prominent than in the last year. Without fast connections provided by advanced telecom networks, video conferencing, cloud computing, and other technologies, the world would have ground to a halt during the lockdowns.

Creating new value with synergy across these tech domains is key to the development road map of the Kingdom today.

In particular, the field of education was greatly impacted, yet also took advantage of advanced technology solutions.

New challenges arose in providing students with the means to advance their education without the use of physical labs, shared equipment, and traditional curriculums. Unfortunately, the digital divide might have widened during this period, setting back gains achieved in recent years.

While digital infrastructure has evolved to combat COVID-19 more broadly, we will need to simultaneously focus on equipping the country’s youth with advanced technical skills.

Developing these skills will create a more versatile generation who are well-suited for future employment, and who can rise to be the future leaders in achieving the targets of their country’s ambitious national visions.

Throughout many years of being present in Saudi Arabia, we have seen tremendous efforts made by the government and our partners towards growing ICT talent. Moving forward, continued work is needed as some clear priorities are identified.

For example, encouraging knowledge and experience-sharing will create more open ecosystems. These provide more opportunities for technology to evolve in ways that are beneficial to society.

Promoting the value of public-private partnerships to nurture an innovation mentality and to foster talent growth is also essential, particularly in terms of practical skills development.

Technology companies working in collaboration with public and private sector partners will provide the most comprehensive opportunities to enhance the ICT talent pool.

Universities must also strive to adapt their curriculum to meet the requirements of future talent cultivation, with stakeholders such as government authorities, telecom operators, and ICT vendors making contributions through collaborative initiatives and activities.

For our part, Huawei is committed to providing the full range of our capabilities in Saudi Arabia so that people here can avail the latest breakthroughs in vital areas like 5G, AI, cloud, and more.

We are keen to share our expertise with all partners in the Kingdom while encouraging talent through initiatives such as the Huawei ICT Competition, Seeds for the Future program, Huawei Academy, and more. It is an ongoing journey as we collectively look to bring digital to every person, home, and organization.

— The writer is CEO of Huawei Tech Investment Saudi Arabia

November 19, 2020
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