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Riyadh secures hosting rights for Smart City Forum in 2024


Nov 9, 2023


Saudi Gazette report

BARCELONA — The Saudi Data and AI Authority (SDAIA) made a groundbreaking announcement on Wednesday at the Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC) in Barcelona, revealing a strategic three-year partnership with event organizers FIRA Barcelona. This collaboration sets the stage for a Riyadh-hosted Smart Cities Forum, scheduled to take place in early 2024.

The Riyadh Smart Cities Forum aims to bring together national, regional, and global thought leaders to propel the conversation on people-centric, smart, and sustainable cities across Saudi Arabia.

Additionally, the forum will serve as a platform to showcase the latest smart city innovations from the Kingdom, fostering global dialogues with key thought leaders, mayors, and city experts worldwide.

Highlighting Saudi Arabia’s increasing influence in the global smart city discourse, Dr. Esam Alwagait, Director of the National Information Centre at SDAIA, emphasized the nation’s pivotal role as a people-centric innovator in the Smart Cities ecosystem.

Dr. Alwagait said: “As the global landscape of cities undergoes a transformative shift, Saudi Arabia is at the vanguard, charting the course for smart city evolution. Our steadfast commitment to innovation and sustainability is setting new benchmarks for urban development and providing forward-thinking blueprints for the metropolises of the future. In this journey, we are reshaping our engagement with urban spaces, with the well-being and needs of our citizens as our core focus.”

Throughout the SCEWC, SDAIA engaged in meaningful discussions with senior representatives from prominent city and digital governance bodies, exploring pioneering projects and ideas. Notable interactions included exchanges with Yo Sik Kang, President of the Seoul Digital Foundation, and Shri M.B. Rajesh, Minister for Urban Development from Kerala, India.

Additionally, SDAIA held strategic meetings with leading figures in the smart and sustainable urban development sector, including the World Economic Forum, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), Resilient Cities, and Metropolis. Discussions also took place with senior representatives from Deloitte and Mastercard.

SDAIA’s robust presence at the SCEWC continues as it showcases innovative smart city projects such as Smart C, Tawakkalna, and Sawaher.


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