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  • Ahmed Saleh

First Global Smart City Forum starts today in Riyadh, KSA

Riyadh, February 12, 2024, The inaugural Global Smart City Forum in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia commenced today in Riyadh, organized by the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing. The forum aims to envision the future of cities worldwide, including those in Saudi Arabia, and position the Kingdom as a frontrunner in data and artificial intelligence-based economies.

With over 100 speakers representing 40 nations, the forum, themed "A Better Life," draws a distinguished gathering of princes, ministers, smart city experts, economic policymakers, and officials from both government and private sectors, along with investors from across the globe.

The event commenced with a visual showcase featuring 101 exhibitors from various nationalities, highlighting the transformative journey toward smart cities empowered by artificial intelligence. These initiatives are geared toward creating modern, people-centric environments that enhance the quality of life.

During the opening ceremony, Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi, President of SDAIA, emphasized the pivotal role of technology and data in building smart and sustainable cities while ensuring citizen welfare. The forum aims to achieve three primary objectives: forecasting smart sustainable cities of the future, promoting global smart government initiatives, and encouraging corporate investment in smart solutions.

Dr. Al-Ghamdi underscored the achievements made in leveraging technology to address urban challenges, citing notable examples such as traffic reduction and visual pollution detection. He also highlighted collaborative efforts with governmental entities and initiatives to enhance green spaces and support national development goals.

Minister of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing, Majid bin Abdullah Al-Hogail, emphasized that the concept of smart cities transcends mere technological integration; it entails establishing holistic systems that integrate municipal services, transportation, education, health, and tourism to enhance residents' quality of life.

Ricard Zapatero, CEO of Fira de Barcelona, praised the collaboration between SDAIA and global partners, underscoring the potential of smart city policies to significantly enhance lives.

NVIDIA CEO and Founder, Jensen Huang, highlighted recent AI breakthroughs and their transformative potential in creating safer, more efficient, and sustainable cities.

Yo-sik Kang, President of Seoul Digital Foundation, outlined the foundation's mission and expressed support for NEOM and Saudi Vision 2030, underscoring the importance of international cooperation in leading global smart city initiatives.

Mayor of Riyadh Region, Prince Faisal bin Abdulaziz bin Ayyaf, participated in a dialogue session titled "Driving Innovation and Sustainable Progress: Smart Cities Use Cases in Transforming Riyadh's Urban Landscape," expressing Riyadh's commitment to pioneering mega projects that will serve as global benchmarks across various sectors.

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