On May 31, 2022, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) announced the approval of a new Communications and Information Technology (IT) Law with the intent of overhauling Saudi Arabia’s digital infrastructure and supporting growth in the communications and IT sectors.
The Communications and IT Law seeks to improve the flexibility and competitiveness of Saudi Arabia’s digital infrastructure and regulatory framework and continue the growth of the country’s digital economy and digital transformation of its industries. The law is expected to further solidify Saudi Arabia’s status as a regional hub for innovation and technological investment and improve the country’s global competitiveness in those sectors.
Additionally, the law aims to stimulate technical innovation, enhance the industry’s global competitiveness, and attract investment with the goal of empowering startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Lastly, the law aims to continue the government’s ongoing digitalization by improving transparency and promoting public knowledge of regulatory procedures in the industry. The law is expected to create or support as many as 318,000 jobs in the Kingdom.
Implementation of the law will be overseen by the MCIT, which was created to build digital infrastructure under international standards that helps innovators take advantage of the opportunities of today’s technologies and contribute to improving Saudi Arabia’s economic sustainability, global leadership, and quality of life. By 2030, MCIT aims to complete its goals of growing the ICT sector by 50 percent, increase the ICT sector’s contribution to national GDP by $13.3 billion, increase industry localization to 50 percent, attract more foreign investment, and improve women’s participation in the ICT sector. The law, according to MCIT, will help the Ministry achieve its main Vision 2030 goals of using the ICT sector to build “a digital society, a digital government, a thriving digital economy, and an innovative future for the Kingdom.”
Saudi Arabia has the largest market share of the Gulf Region’s information and communications technology (ICT) industry, estimated at $38.4 billion. The largest subsectors within the overall Saudi ICT sector are the technology market, which accounts for $19.5 billion in economic activity; the communications market, worth $18.9 billion; digital content and emerging technologies, which capture $2.9 billion each; and the cloud computing market, which is valued at $2.7 billion.