As 2022 draws to a close, Saudi Arabia is poised to become a regional and global economic powerhouse. Let's explore some of the emerging sectors that are contributing to the Kingdom's growth and development.
Rising Stars of the Saudi Economy
As part of Vision 2030, the Saudi government has focused on developing new industries that can diversify the economy and create jobs for young, skilled workers. These efforts have paid off, and today, the country is home to several fast-growing sectors.
Saudi Arabia aims to be a hub of innovation and technological progress and to achieve this ambitious goal it needs a highly educated workforce. The country's higher education system is growing quickly, with new colleges and universities expanding every year. As more Saudis pursue careers in fields such as engineering, computing and finance, the country is making great strides towards becoming a global leader in tech. Tertiary enrollment currently stands at 71% and is growing every year, with a higher number of women than men obtaining university degrees. By the end of 2022, the education sector in Saudi Arabia is expected to generate approximately US$36.07m with a projected CAGR of 8.73% until 2026.
The Kingdom's youthful population has precipitated the need for more organized and competitive sports programs that provide a source of entertainment and a way to stay active. Saudi Arabia has responded by investing heavily in state-of-the-art sports facilities and hosting major sporting events. In 2019, the sports industry contributed US$6.9 billion to the Saudi GDP, which is only likely to grow over the next decade thanks to the government's pledge of over US$2 billion worth of investment by 2024. In addition to this hefty sum, a further US$670 million has been pledged in support of private-sector sports clubs.
Saudi Arabia's media industry has blossomed over the past decade, driven by growing demand for news and entertainment content. There are now dozens of television channels, newspapers, magazines and online outlets that cater to the country's growing middle class, which is hungry for news and information. According to recent projections, publishing in Saudi Arabia is expected to bring in around US$1.336 million by 2024.
Digital media is also thriving, with Saudi Arabian residents spending an average of three hours and 24 minutes on social media per day. This has opened the door to a booming social media marketing industry, with social media advertising spending expected to reach US$430.50m by the end of 2022. By 2027, the market volume of this particular sector is projected to grow to approximately US$797.20m.
The Saudi government has been eager to invest in new technologies that have the potential to improve the quality of life for its citizens and develop the nation as a regional hub for digital services. As part of this move, they have developed over $US1.2 billion worth of initiatives in the emerging tech sector, which target areas such as cloud computing, big data, IoT, and renewable energy technology.
The nation's ICT sector is now worth a breathtaking $US32.1 billion. In addition to contributing billions of dollars to the Saudi economy annually, this sector has also created a number of high-paying jobs for young, tech-savvy workers. With so much promise and potential for growth, it is clear that the technology sector will continue to play a vital role in the Kingdom's economic transformation for years to come.
How Will These Sectors Shape the Future of KSA?
Saudi Arabia has an exceptionally youthful population and as its emerging generation of digital natives hits the workforce, the Kingdom's economy will naturally evolve to cater to their needs and interests. These new industries will play a pivotal role in driving the country's economic growth over the next decade, creating jobs and opening up new investment opportunities. Whether it's through education, sports, media or technology, the Kingdom is well-positioned to be a major player in the global economy.