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Publication date: 25 Aug 2023

Saudi Arabia's Digital Landscape Soars, with IDC Forecasting ICT Spending to Surpass $34.5 Billion


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Riyadh – Saudi Arabia is propelling itself into a new era of digital innovation. Fueled by an influx of foreign direct investment and a colossal $7 trillion development plan for giga projects, ICT spending in the Kingdom is projected to soar beyond $34.5 billion this year. That's according to the latest forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC), with the global technology research, consulting, and events firm predicting particularly strong compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) for software (11.4%) and IT services (8.7%) over the 2022–2026 period.

The government sector is spearheading IT spending in the Kingdom in 2023, with substantial investments being made in the areas of AI, IoT, cybersecurity, and big data analytics — the critical building blocks of an 'Experience Economy'. The key sectors of finance, communications, energy and resources, and manufacturing will be the next biggest spenders in 2023; however, the healthcare, finance, retail/wholesale, professional services, and education sectors are expected to see the fastest rates of growth over the next five years.

The upcoming IDC Saudi Arabia CIO Summit 2023, which takes place at the Fairmont Riyadh on September 13-14, will explore these developments and much more as it plays host to the Kingdom's most influential IT and telecom leaders, digital government pioneers, regulators, and industry thought leaders.

"Saudi Arabia's trailblazing transformation journey is testament to the Kingdom's visionary leaders and their unwavering commitment to building a resilient digital economy," says Hamza Naqshbandi, IDC’s associate vice president for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. "Guided by their ambition, Saudi CIOs now stand as the architects of tomorrow and will be pivotal in shaping an era where digital prowess empowers a nation's aspirations. The IDC Saudi Arabia CIO Summit 2023 will celebrate the Kingdom's remarkable evolution, providing a unique platform where collaboration, knowledge sharing, and technological innovation converge to lay the foundations for a future unbounded by limitations."

Addressing the theme 'Enabling the Digital Economy's Leaders', the IDC Saudi Arabia CIO Summit 2023, will explore the current digital landscape and evaluate its pervasive impact on citizens, customers, employees, and operations. There will also be a special guest appearance from Raha Moharrak, who carved her name in history as both the youngest Arab and first Saudi woman to climb Mount Everest and the Seven Summits. Her achievements align perfectly with the spirit of transformation that drives the summit, and her presence will inspire attendees to reach for new heights in their own digital journeys.

The agenda will incorporate a series of fascinating presentations, dedicated CIO-led panel sessions, and technology focus groups addressing a diverse range of topics such as:

• Strategies for Developing a Digitally Resilient Organization

• Envisioning the Future Intelligent Enterprise

• Shaping CISO Strategies for the Digital-First Organization

• Data- and Platform-Led Strategies for Realizing Digital Outcomes

• Digital Trust, Identity, and Security Strategies for the Digital-First Organization

• Talent Development and the Demand for New Skills: Optimizing Team Structure

• Sustainable Strategies and Technologies: Operationalization, Impact Measurability, Business Value Creation

• Vendor Selection and Management: Best Practices and What to Look Out For

• Cyber Protection for the Threats of Today, and Tomorrow: Dynamic Security Strategies to Minimize Risk

• Connecting the Distributed Cloud: From the Edge to the Core

• Enabling the Data-Driven Enterprise

• Transitioning Through AI and Analytics: Winning in the Intelligent Economy

The event will also feature exclusive insights from IDC's CIO Advisory Council for Saudi Arabia, whose members include some of the region's most respected ICT leaders and experts, including:

Eng. Naif A. Sheshah, Assistant Deputy Governor for Planning & Development and CDO, Communications, Space & Technology Commission (CST)

Yousef Alsuhaibani, CIO, Mobily

Sundah Alsehali, CIO, Ministry of Defense

Eng. Ghada Albugami, CIO and Presidential Advisor for Digital Transformation, Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University

Abdulaziz Abanmi, COO, Saudi Payments

Khaled Alhazmi, CIO, Saudi Airlines

Jason Roos, CIO, King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST)

Yasser Al Yousuf, Assistant Deputy Minister, CISO, CRO, and CDO, Ministry of Justice

Bandar Al Shahrani, Head of Digital & Innovation, PIF Projects, Public Investment Fund

To learn more about the IDC Saudi Arabia CIO Summit 2023, please click here or contact Sheila Manek at / +971 4 446 3154. You can also join the discussion on social media using the hashtag #IDCSAUDICIO.

About IDC

International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets. With more than 1,300 analysts worldwide, IDC offers global, regional, and local expertise on technology, IT benchmarking and sourcing, and industry opportunities and trends in over 110 countries. IDC's analysis and insight helps IT professionals, business executives, and the investment community to make fact-based technology decisions and to achieve their key business objectives. Founded in 1964, IDC is a wholly owned subsidiary of International Data Group (IDG), the world's leading tech media, data, and marketing services company. To learn more about IDC, please visit Follow IDC on Twitter at @IDC and LinkedIn. Subscribe to the IDC Blog for industry news and insights.

IDC in the Middle East, Türkiye, and Africa

For the Middle East, Türkiye, and Africa region, IDC retains a coordinated network of offices in Riyadh, Nairobi, Lagos, Johannesburg, Cairo, and Istanbul, with a regional center in Dubai. Our coverage couples local insights with international perspectives to provide a comprehensive understanding of markets in these dynamic regions. Our market intelligence services are unparalleled in depth, consistency, scope, and accuracy. IDC Middle East and Africa currently fields over 130 analysts, consultants, and conference associates across the region. To learn more about IDC MEA, please visit You can follow IDC MEA on Twitter at @IDCMEA.