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Saudi Arabia, top of the class in digital technology

A new report from the World Economic Forum analyzes how countries have developed the competitiveness of their digital ecosystem over the last three years, based on the investments and strategies adopted. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is striking for its meteoric progress. France is not to be outdone.

In the midst of a technological revolution with the rise of artificial intelligence, 3D printing, virtual reality and the like, the ability of States to provide support and strategic vision to the tech sector is proving more decisive than ever. Its economic future is at stake, but also potentially its geopolitical future.

It is in this context that the World Economic Forum, often referred to as the Davos Forum, which brings together business leaders, politicians from around the world as well as intellectuals and journalists to discuss the world’s most pressing problems, has published a report entitled “Digital Riser”, which lists the countries that have made the greatest progress (or the biggest falls) on the digital issue.

 

The World Economic Forum brings together today’s decision-makers to shape tomorrow’s world.

France and Saudi Arabia in the lead

Within the G7, it was France that stood out from the pack, unlike Italy and Germany, which followed the opposite path, with the biggest falls in this cluster.

On the G20 scale, however, it was undeniably Saudi Arabia that made the most dazzling progress, followed by France and Indonesia.

The report is based on two very distinct elements of “digital competitiveness” which are the ecosystem and the “mindset” of countries over the last three years. A mindset that translates into strategies that may or may not be conducive to the development of the digital sector. Some trends emerge, which are detailed for the first three countries in the ranking.

 

Leading countries are betting heavily on education. Here, KAUST University in Saudi Arabia.

Education, a key sector

For example, it appears that the leaders in the ranking have invested more heavily in digital in the education sector. Typically, Indonesia has launched a scholarship program for digital talent that has already been awarded to some 20,000 students.

 

A long-term vision

Second, the best students have a propensity to develop strategies over the long term and to stick to them over the distance. For France, we can cite the La French Tech program, a label that has established itself as a benchmark in the startup ecosystem, and for Saudi Arabia the ICT Strategy 2023 plans, which aims to develop the digital sector in the Kingdom by sharpening skills, attracting leading international players, and generally stimulating innovation. We can, of course, also cite the Vision 2030 plan, which follows closely the Crown Prince Mohammed Ben Salmane, since he has been at the helm of the country.