Riyadh municipality is partnering with US technology giant IBM (NYSE:IBM) for the implementation of blockchain technology in government and payment services, Dubai-based news outlet ITP.net reported on Wednesday.
For future projects involving blockchain, IBM will collaborate with Elm, the company acting as technology partner to Riyadh municipality. Together with the local authorities, the two enterprises will work to expand digital applications, thus improving the quality of municipal services. After identifying which services can benefit from the use of blockchain, IBM will first develop solutions at the municipal level, and Elm will then integrate them at the governmental level.
The agreement Riyadh has signed with the US group aligns with the Arab kingdom’s economic path, particularly its so-called Vision 2030 plan. The strategy aims to transform Saudi Arabia from an oil-dependent country into a technology and commerce hub.
Since the program launch in 2016, the Gulf state has taken a series of steps in this direction. Recent ones include a deal struck in February between the Saudi central bank and Ripple for blockchain cross-border payments. Other examples are a partnership agreed in May with US blockchain start-up ConsenSys, and a decision by the local securities regulator to award fintech licenses.
Speaking of the latest agreement, Elm CEO Abdulrahman Al Jadhai claimed it would considerably improve the methods and procedures of Riyadh’s municipal services. He went on to add that this puts an e-government model within sight.
"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," commented IBM Saudi Arabia manager Tarek Zarg El Aioun.
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