RIYADH — The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) of Saudi Arabia has signed a memorandum of understanding with Nokia, a leading global provider of telecommunications, digital infrastructure and networking solutions. The memorandum is aimed at launching a global center for software development and support in the Kingdom.

With the attendance of Minister of Communications and Information Technology Eng. Abdullah Al’Swaha and Nokia President and CEO Rajeev Suri in addition to a number of MCIT’s senior officials, the memorandum has been signed by Vice Minister of Communications and Information Technology Eng. Haitham Al’Ohali and Head of Nokia MEA Business Development Omar Al’Laithi

The memorandum provides for establishing a development unit, a Nokia Bell labs research unit, and a Nokia repair center for Nokia base station HW modules; the center is to service KSA initially and potentially the GCC at a later stage. It also includes development of programs (independent or in cooperation with SDA or other authorities and customers) in order to provide opportunities for pre-graduates, fresh graduates in COOPT trainings and internships.

According to the memorandum, NOKIA shall cooperate with MCIT and CITC (Communications and Information Technology) on initiatives around 5G and IoT and their use cases as per Nokia standards, with a view to support the Kingdom to be a leader in 5G and IoT technology in the MENA region. Moreover, Nokia’s experts shall furnish advice and engage with relevant MCIT and CITC stakeholders on current and future technology trends and their economic impact, including but not limited to spectrum allocation, technology updates, business case, monetization studies and workshops.

One of the memorandum’s key programs is WIELD (Women in Energy and Leadership Development), geared toward investment in future woman leaders for the Energy sector and focused around digitalization and ICT developments, with the aim of driving the Energy industry segments, including a 10+ Weeks Program at 4 locations, KSA, USA, UK and Finland.

The intended collaboration is in line with the ICT Strategy 2023, emanating from Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, and , which aims to establish a robust and cutting-edge digital architecture so that digital transformation accelerates and thus supports the orientations of the Vision 2030, which aims to promote the ICT sector’s role in order to build a digital society, a digital government, a thriving digital economy, and an innovative future for the Kingdom.

The memorandum will contribute to the development of local technology content through training and qualification of young Saudis, development of digital skills, localization of the software industry and supporting research and innovation efforts, by establishing two software R&D units, supporting high-quality products endorsing quality products that are made in the Kingdom by Nokia, in addition to creating a smart technology industry environment that is attractive to local and international investments, in order to enhance the localization and empowerment of the technology industry and transfer of knowledge. It will also contribute to job creation within the orientation toward diversifying sources of national income, in line with the Vision 2030.

In recent years, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) has entered into many partnerships to promote integration, cooperation and consolidate efforts to achieve the goals of the Vision 2030. — SG

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