Saudi Arabia announced Ignite, a new program for digital content creation and production; new investments and support for next-generation connectivity and communication infrastructure; and a new partnership that will see Trend Micro open its regional head-quarters in Riyadh.
The latest round of announcements was made on day two of LEAP22, the global technology platform taking place in Riyadh.
The new program and investments are all part of Saudi Arabia’s plans to accelerate its digital ecosystem and leverage its position in the MENA region to become a leading international digital economy.
The Digital Content Council announced Ignite, a new program that will transform the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia into a leading digital entertainment and media production hub.
The program aims to create a comprehensive ecosystem that will attract digital content com-panies and grow the local media and content creation sector.
Ignite aims to triple Saudi Arabia’s digital content market size in gaming, audio, video and advertising. The program is backed by a $1.1bn investment and will include incentives including financial support for local, regional and international companies and start-ups; infrastructure development; talent development programs and improved policy and regulations to enable the sector to grow rapidly
.Training courses will be available in three sectors, gaming, films and digital ads, to upskill more than 4,400 participants in the next three years. The training programs will ensure that Saudi Arabia is developing the skillsets required by the industry and giving Saudi youth skills that will improve their employment opportunities.
The program will supplement the film fund which will be allocated for the infrastructure, development, pro-duction and distribution of locally produced movies, and another fund which will focus on gaming to develop games and build the required infrastructure such as game studios.
To further attract local and international partners to Ignite, Saudi Arabia will also enhance intellectual property protection measures. International and local partners will be able to benefit from an investor’s ‘one stop shop’ that will streamline the process for investment into the Saudi digital content economy.
The Kingdom announced the launch of WiFi 6E, supported by the largest amount of spectrum available for WiFi of any country worldwide. The combination of state-of-the-art technology and record amount of spectrum will allow Saudi Arabia to benefit from the fastest achievable WiFi speeds globally (2.4 Gbps). Enabling this advanced connectivity is expected to quadruple WiFi’s overall contribution to Saudi Arabia’s GDP rising from $4.7bn in 2021 to more than $18bn by 2030.
The Kingdom’s WiFi upgrade is to be accompanied by other connectivity-boosting initiatives, including the first regional trial of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite technology to extend reliable coverage to remote areas of the Kingdom. CITC will also hold a frequency auction during the first half of this year, a development which is likely to place Saudi first globally for spectrum available to fifth-generation (5G) networks and mobile communications.
The contribution of 5G technology to GDP is expected to increase from US$1.4bn in 2021 to more than $15bn by 2030.
The first edition of LEAP is set to become the world’s largest debut technology platform, putting a spotlight on the global innovation ecosystem, connecting pioneers and disruptors with business and government leaders, entrepreneurs and investors to experience and learn about the tech-nologies of the future