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Chapter | ICT from The Report: Saudi Arabia 2019

Like other sectors of the economy, development of Saudi Arabia’s ICT industry is being deeply influenced by the government’s Vision 2030 strategy, which emphasises the need for diversification and modernisation. However, in the context of this roadmap, ICT is not being addressed as a standalone sector, but rather as a fillip to help all other sectors transform through the adoption of digital technologies, cloud computing and e-commerce, among other applications. In 2018 a study to estimate the value of spending on ICT services concluded that it totalled $36.2bn in 2017, up by 4.6% on the previous year. Of that total, telecommunications accounted for almost two-thirds (65%), with the remaining 35% distributed between IT, hardware and software services. This chapter contains interviews with Nasser Al Nasser, CEO, Saudi Telecom Company; Mohammed AlShaibi, CEO, Tamkeen Technologies.

Chapter | Security, Defence & Aerospace from The Report: Saudi Arabia 2019

As the world’s largest military spender per capita, Saudi Arabia is committed to maintaining the balance of power in the Middle East. It is also examining ways to balance its books by ensuring that a growing percentage of spending is on hardware locally produced within the Kingdom. Vision 2030 aims to localise spending on military equipment from its 2017 level of 2% to more than 50% by 2030. In the 2019 fiscal budget, 27% of spending was earmarked for defence and security, the highest allocation given to any sector. The government is also encouraging the development of advanced manufacturing in the Kingdom, and the aerospace segment in particular is a major target for increased investment. This chapter contains an interview with Andreas Schwer, CEO, Saudi Arabian Military Industries.

Chapter | Industry from The Report: Saudi Arabia 2019

The sweeping changes announced in Vision 2030 aim at giving rise to a reinvigorated and prosperous private sector, driving growth through broad industrial development. By the time the G20 summit convenes in Riyadh in 2020, four years after the Vision 2030 announcements, the country’s leaders will be able to showcase some of the first results of the new agenda, as detailed in the National Transformation Programme (NTP). There are high expectations of the individual reforms, as policymakers work to meet key performance indicators outlined in the NTP’s second iteration, dubbed NTP 2.0. Mega-projects such as the Sadara Petrochemicals Complex are producing raw materials that can spawn new manufacturing plants, while the consumer habits of a growing, young and affluent population are creating fresh markets for innovative service industries. This chapter contains an interview with Khalid Al Salem, Director-General, Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones.

Chapter | Capital Markets from The Report: Saudi Arabia 2019

While primarily an equity exchange, over the past decade the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) has evolved from its starting point as a single-asset-class platform to include a wider array of financial instruments, starting in 2010 with the addition of an exchange-traded fund. Tadawul entered 2019 on the back of a strong year, in which the main index showed the first solid gain since 2016. A raft of reform measures, inclusion in some of the world’s most influential indices and a lengthy roster of initial public offering prospects emerging from the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 strategy mean that the near term is likely to be another lively period for the market. This chapter contains an interview with Khalid Al Hussan, CEO, Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul).

Chapter | Utilities from The Report: Saudi Arabia 2019

Amid ongoing reform of subsidies, the gradual privatisation of public assets, and ambitious plans to expand seawater desalination facilities and improve sanitation infrastructure, Saudi Arabia’s utilities sector will undergo significant changes over the coming years. In order to diversify its energy mix, the Kingdom is pursuing a series of ambitious goals to increase its solar and wind capacity, while also developing its first nuclear power station. In May 2016 a royal decree dissolved the Ministry of Water and Electricity, which had previously overseen the sector. The electricity segment now falls under purview of the newly revamped Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, while water is overseen by the recently established Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture. This chapter contains interviews with Fahad Al-Sudairi, Acting CEO of Saudi Electricity Company (SEC); Mohammed Al Mowkley, CEO, National Water Company; and Khaled Al Qureshi, CEO, Water and Electricity Company.

Chapter | Banking from The Report: Saudi Arabia 2019

As one of the biggest banking sectors by assets in the MENA region, Saudi Arabia has been something of a sleeping giant in recent years. Economic uncertainty and the effects of low international oil prices have seen both muted lending growth and deposit acquisition, while economic reforms have led to more market uncertainty. The Kingdom’s lenders have, however, remained profitable throughout this period, and are well positioned to take advantage of opportunities arising from an anticipated acceleration of economic growth. In the meantime, an industry that has seen little structural change over recent decades is about to be transformed by new market entrants and mergers of some of its biggest institutions. This chapter contains interviews with Ahmed Alkholifey, Governor, Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority; and Søren Nikolajsen, Managing Director, Alawwal Bank.