Advancing Digital Government in Saudi Arabia in 2023: Utilising AI for Enhanced Public Services
In recent years, Saudi Arabia has made remarkable strides in embracing technology and digital transformation across various sectors. The Kingdom's vision for a modern and innovative nation has propelled its government to invest heavily in advanced digital infrastructure. This article explores the significant progress made by Saudi Arabia in establishing an advanced digital government while also exploring the transformative potential of AI in revolutionising public services.
Words by Abdulaziz Al-Nahabi
Saudi Arabia's e-Government Transformation
Saudi Arabia’s commitment to advancing digital government has been evident through initiatives like Saudi Vision 2030 and the related National Transformation Program (NTP). These comprehensive plans have set ambitious goals to leverage technology and digitalisation to enhance the efficiency, transparency, and accessibility of government services. The progress achieved ever since has been substantial and internationally recognised, for example in the country’s record leap in the UN’s E-Government Development Index ranking. Taking a closer look at the benefits of the digital government in Saudi Arabia, we’ve compiled insights from Creative Dock. As a leading independent corporate venture builder in Europe and MENA, Creative Dock has first-hand experience of how advanced public services have made building fintech ventures for one of Saudi Arabia's leading banks much easier. You can read it here: Why is the MENA region a leader in digitalisation?
Digitisation makes public administration more accessible
An extensive e-government infrastructure stands as one of the pivotal pillars of Saudi Arabia’s digital government. The Kingdom has developed robust online platforms, such as the Abshr platform and the Tawakkalna Services platform, which provide a centralised hub for accessing a wide range of public services. These digital platforms enable citizens and residents to conduct transactions, access information, and interact with government entities in a seamless and convenient manner.
"When you suddenly have the ability to handle all kinds of issues online, without having to go to any branch or even deal with someone, it’s tremendously liberating,” explains Lenka Libanska, Chief Product Officer of corporate venture builder Creative Dock.
Balancing Convenience and Security with Centralised E-government Platforms
Since heavy centralisation can lead to a greater risk of cyber attacks, Saudi Arabia has focused on enhancing cybersecurity and data protection to ensure the privacy and security of its citizens. The establishment of the National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA) and the implementation of stringent regulations have safeguarded digital assets and fortified the nation's resilience against cyber threats.
AI-Powered Progress: How Saudi Arabia Can Leverage AI for Enhanced E-Government Services
With the presence of two key pillars–centralised hubs and vast data sets–the potential for artificial intelligence to revolutionise public services and governance in Saudi Arabia is immense. There are several crucial areas where AI can be effectively utilised, unlocking opportunities for transformative advancements.
AI-powered analytics can assist government entities in processing vast amounts of data and extracting valuable insights to make informed policy decisions. Machine learning algorithms can analyse historical data and predict future trends, enabling authorities to proactively address challenges and optimise resource allocation.
Efficient Public Service Delivery
Chatbots and virtual assistants powered by AI can handle routine inquiries and provide quick and accurate responses to citizen queries. This automation can significantly reduce the burden on government call centres and free up human resources to focus on more complex tasks. Additionally, AI can facilitate the automation of administrative processes, resulting in streamlined service delivery and reduced processing times.
Predictive Maintenance and Infrastructure Management
AI algorithms can monitor and analyse data from various sensors and Internet of Things (IoT) devices to detect maintenance requirements in public infrastructure. This proactive approach to maintenance can prevent breakdowns, minimise service disruptions, and improve the overall quality of public facilities.
AI applications can enhance healthcare services by enabling early disease detection, personalised treatment plans, and efficient resource management. Machine learning algorithms can analyse medical data to identify patterns and make accurate diagnoses. Virtual healthcare assistants can provide patients with 24/7 support, answer medical queries, and assist in remote consultations.
AI is Fuelling the Next Evolution of E-Government in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia's commitment to advancing its digital government has laid a strong foundation for leveraging AI to improve public services. Through its ambitious initiatives and investments, the Kingdom is well-positioned to harness the transformative potential of AI in decision-making, service delivery, infrastructure management, and healthcare. As Saudi Arabia continues on its path towards becoming a digitally empowered nation, the integration of AI into government operations will play a crucial role in enhancing efficiency, transparency, and citizen satisfaction, ultimately leading to an improved quality of life for the people of Saudi Arabia.