The government of Saudi Arabia remains steadfast in its determination to rely on Distributed Ledger Technologies to strengthen the progress of its economy. On July 11, 2018, the ITP news portal reported that the municipality of Riyadh had partnered with IBM to implement a series of blockchain technologies in various administrative and economic areas.
This decision is based on the Saudi Vision 2030 program; a long-term development program that seeks to diversify the economy and promote the integral development of the nation.
One of the premises of the Saudi Vision 2030 program is the promotion of alternative industries to oil as a strategy to increase GDP and avoid the risks associated with high dependence on a market as volatile as the petroleum segment. To this end, a series of planned investments are proposed in sectors such as infrastructure, healthcare, tourism, education, as well as military spending and manufacturing.
Saudi Arabia Supports Local Industries
In addition to IBM, the Riyadh government will work with Elm, a local company that will be responsible for integrating the technology developed by IBM into the governmental system as a subsequent phase of IBM’s work.
Speaking with ITP Dr. Abdulrahman Al Jadhai, Chief Executive Officer of Elm said:
“We are proud of the partnership that will significantly enhance the methods and procedures of the services provided by the Municipality… The expertise of Elm will contribute to enriching customer experience, to build the best solutions for both public and private sectors and to contribute to the transformation towards an e-Government model, in line with the Saudi Vision 2030”.
Tarek Zarg El Aioun, Country General Manager, IBM Saudi Arabi also expressed the company’s enthusiasm and optimism about the challenge of creating blockchain solutions for major projects such as the one presented by the municipality of Riyadh
“Through the collaboration between Riyadh Municipality, Elm and IBM, we will be able to help the Saudi government reimagine and transform the way in which services are provided to citizens, residents, businesses, and visitors. It is a strategic step towards supporting the objectives of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.”
A Blockchain Pioneer Country
The government of Saudi Arabia is one of the most dynamic and confident countries regarding using blockchains to promote its development. Unlike other states, several projects are already in the implementation phase:
During May, the Saudi Arabian government held a “Blockchain Bootcamp” to promote the creation of
dapps and Ethereum-based smart contracts to create a better digital environment for public policy enforcement.
However, perhaps the most promising and far-reaching adoption has been the alliance between the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) and Ripple to make use of their platform as an international payment facilitator via xCurrent, challenging SWIFT’s presence as the ultimate solution for this type of transaction.