From The Report: Saudi Arabia 2018
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Accounting for 6% of GDP and 10% of non-oil GDP in 2016, according to the Communications and Information Technology Commission, Saudi Arabia’s ICT sector plays an important part in the Kingdom’s economy. Spending in the sector exceeded SR130bn ($34.7bn) in 2016, and in 2017 it was expected to reach SR138bn ($36.8bn) despite economic headwinds. The government’s recently finalised economic strategy places ICT at the centre of the nation’s development, and telecoms players, hardware and software providers, and service operators all stand to benefit from the array of state-directed initiatives it has set in motion. Regulatory changes however have added pressure to ICT companies’ bottom lines over the past year, and the industry is responding by reining in expenditure and shifting the strategic focus to new products and services.

This chapter contains interviews with Abdullah Alswaha, Minister of Communication & Information Technology; Prince Naif bin Sultan bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Kabeer, Chairman, Zain Saudi Arabia; and Essam Alshiha, CEO, Saudi Business Machines.