The municipality of Riyadh in Saudi Arabia has partnered up with IBM to develop a tailor-made system which will streamline government services and transactions on and over a blockchain platform.

Following an authoritative decision from the Government of Saudi Arabia, collaboration was formed with the aim to improving the quality of municipal services for residents, whilst integrating new technologies as a part of the Saudi Vision 2030 programme.

Encourage economic development

The Saudi Vision 2030 programme is designed to promote and encourage economic development as well as the diversification of the economy away from oil. Oil and related industries currently account for between 30% and 40% of the countries GDP. The agenda was introduced by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and it also focusses on developing infrastructure, healthcare, tourism, the education system, and military spending.

Riyadh Municipality, IBM and a leading Saudi tech firm, Elm Company will create a series of workshops that will help to determine which services have the potential to migrate onto the blockchain. IBM will then develop the first blockchain-based solution whilst Elm will take care of implementing the technology into government services. Country General Manager at IBM Saudi Arabia, Tarek Zarg El Aioun stated that IBM is confident that blockchain technology has the potential to change the world in the same way that the internet did.

Transforming service providers

“Through the collaboration between Riyadh Municipality, Elm and IBM, we will be able to help the Saudi government reimagine and transform the way in which services are provided to citizens, residents, businesses, and visitors. It is a strategic step towards supporting the objectives of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.”

Back in May, the Saudi government conducted a blockchain boot camp which focused on bringing Ethereum smart contracts and DApps to the country. This was also a part of the larger plan to create a fully fledged digital environment. This is in addition to the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) partnering with cryptocurrency Ripple in February of this year to offer support for Ripple’s international payments technology to banks within the state. The programme means that participating banks can use Ripple’s software solution ‘xCurrent’ to effect cross-border payments.


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