Saudi Arabia on road to becoming data-driven economy

Saudi Arabia on road to becoming data-driven economy
Saudi Arabia on road to becoming data-driven economy

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s journey in turning raw information into valuable insights is evolving, as the General Authority for Statistics continues to carry out surveys and censuses.

At the Future Real Estate Forum in Riyadh, Fahad Al-Dossari, president of GASTAT, underscored the evolving approach to analytical developments.

He stated: “The statistical products in the recent period have focused on diversifying data sources, with data primarily built on surveys being a fundamental source for our work at the authority.” 

The official highlighted the utilization of existing data records from both the public and private sectors.

As a move toward transparency, he added: “Now, we are publishing details on how the figures are calculated, and this is part of transparency so that researchers and interested parties can clearly understand the method of data production.”

While discussing the comprehensive census in Saudi Arabia, Al-Dossari said: “When we started the comprehensive census in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we found 12.4 million housing units, of which 8.2 million were residential.”

As per the findings, residential units accounted for 65.79 percent of the overall units, while the commercial ones constituted a mere 6.27 percent, totaling 779,261.

The census was conducted in May 2022 and is the fifth of its kind in the history of Saudi Arabia. It was initially due to be carried out in 2020 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The 2022 census was conducted using the best international methodologies with the help of the latest innovations, such as satellites and self-enumeration technology. 

In order to ensure the accuracy of data, error monitoring and automated correction techniques were deployed, such as more than 1 million phone calls, 900,000 field visits, and the use of advanced analysis and statistic methods. 

Comparisons included five different data sources, and more than 200 indicators reviewed the information to confirm its accuracy.

Addressing indicators for potential investors, Al-Dossari pointed out: “There are important indicators, especially for those interested in investing in this sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Among them is the measurement index for property prices, and another significant indicator involves surveying the structural activities.”

He highlighted the value of examining business activities in the Kingdom to calculate their contribution to the gross domestic product.

Al-Dossari revealed ongoing initiatives, stating: “One of the projects we are working on is providing information in a way that facilitates easy access. We are working on enhancing the existing platform at the authority to enable foreign investors to obtain detailed information with great ease.”

Stressing the collaborative nature of statistical development, he added: “The success of any statistical development relies on support from other sectors.”

Al-Dossari said: “Last week, we embarked on a comprehensive survey of economic establishments in the Kingdom, with approximately 1 million establishments to be visited for updating activities. This will contribute to having extensive and detailed information.”

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