An article published on the "World Bank Blogs" praised the advanced digital capabilities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which leveraged from two decades of continued investment in modern digital infrastructure and robust digital government platforms, adding that the Kingdom's digital capabilities have provided a solid foundation for key aspects of the COVID-19 emergency response, including continued access to various e-government services.
The article, written by Zaki Khoury, commended the Saudi Arabia’s government and telecom operators' response to this massive demand for telecommunications and data by implementing several measures, including increasing speeds and data capacity, providing free services, opening spectrum, enhancing network management, facilitating remote learning and continuity of business services, and enabling integrated data sharing and mobile money transactions.
The writer pointed out that this investment in modern digital infrastructure has been part of a long-term plan articulated in Vision 2030, as the Kingdom continues to strengthen its digital infrastructure by deploying 5G networks and investing in 6500 new towers, essential for the shorter radio wavelengths to provide effective coverage.
In terms of ensuring business continuity, Zaki Khoury said that thanks to the Yesser e-government program, the Kingdom has developed an integrated and interoperable digital government, and this investment has paid off in securing business continuity and the digital government platforms have helped various agencies deliver safe, reliable and user-centric services while enabling flexibility in sharing data across the government ecosystem.
He also added that Mawid and Absher are examples of digital channels that have helped ensure access to government services for citizens and businesses and the national portal, Gov.sa, maintained reliable access to over 900 government services despite a surge in traffic when the curfew was applied nationally.
The writer concluded his article by saying that Saudi Arabia’s government is showing digital agility in addressing the COVID-19 crisis and continues its efforts to strengthen national resilience. Resilience, combined with agility, will be the new focus for the digital government as countries emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.