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GCC governments must hire experts to drive smart initiatives

Digital technology expert claims smart city officers will drive long-term delivery of urban development

GCC governments must hire experts to drive smart initiatives
Dr Chakib Bouhdary calls for GCC governments to collaborate with smart city experts to drive development

Technology solutions provider SAP has urged GCC governments to hire chief smart city officers to drive smart city development.

Dr Chakib Bouhdary, digital transformation officer at SAP, argued that without a senior government official leading smart city projects, they will not reach their full potential. He also called on governments, educational institutions, and the private sector to partner on supporting local talent in learning technology skills.

"Chief smart city officers can make governments more efficient and responsive to citizen demands by breaking down agency silos, forging public-private partnerships, and providing the digital tools to manage population growth, citizen services, and climate resiliency," said Dr Bouhdary.

GCC cities such as Dubai and Masdar City in the UAE, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's four economic cities, and Lusail City in Qatar are using technology to enhance the citizen experience with urban infrastructure, transportation, and safety and security.

Dr Bouhdary also praised Dubai as one of the region's leading smart cities, with the Smart Dubai government agency aiming for Dubai to become the world's smartest city by 2017.

According to analysts Frost & Sullivan, smart cities will present a global market opportunity of $1.6tn by 2020, and a recent report by Smart Dubai predicting the city's value could reach $5bn by 2020.

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