With Covid-19 affecting every aspect of daily life, countries have recognized the importance of implementing better digital infrastructure to deal with our change of lifestyle, utilizing technologies to cope, first, with the current health crisis and second, to set forth better planning procedures for any future public emergencies.
Saudi Arabia has taken decisions to invest in a health system and digital infrastructure, helping to successfully contain the spread of the virus and keep the Kingdom’s economic diversification plans on track. In 2016, the Saudi Arabian government launched a broad and ambitious socio-economic reform plan known as Vision 2030, with the main aim to diversify its economy away from oil, moving forward. This has prompted many strategic initiatives in the country to better serve the population and economy. Saudi Arabia is the largest in the Gulf region with a population of 33 million, and the largest economy in the Arab World with a GDP of $782 billion.
Telecom and health investments have really paid off in Saudi Arabia amid the pandemic. The global research and advisory company’s report highlights details of the measures implemented by the country’s telecoms sector, led by stc, which ensured business continuity during the period of lockdown, facilitating the implementation of work-from-home and remote education practices, alongside the implementation of digital health initiatives.
According to the report, plans implemented in Saudi Arabia by the telecom sector in 2019, has meant a vast improvement in the country’s mobile internet speeds – ranked the 10th fastest worldwide – and allowed stc to accommodate the surge in demand driven by Saudis shifting online during lockdown.
In addition, Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority’s decisions to raise the maximum allowed recharge limit for electronic wallets to SAR 20,000 per month, maintained the increasing digital commerce activity/remote payment activities that increased during lockdown.
Saudi Arabia’s multi-faceted approach to tackle the virus helped mitigate the spread of community transmission while also mitigating its impact on both businesses and households, and setting the scene for a speedy economic recovery, according to Andrew Jeffreys, OBG’s CEO.