Covid-19 has taken the world by storm; a storm that humanity has been struggling to navigate, both from a health perspective and socio-economically. By the end of March 2020, 204 countries and territories around the world were hit by the Covid-19 outbreak. More than 3 million cases and 200,000 deaths have been reported to date, thereby leading governments to resort to social distancing and lockdown policies in an attempt to halt the rapid spread of the virus.
The socio-economic impact of this pandemic, as officially stated by the World Health Organization (WHO), is already massive. The IMF declared that the world is entering a recession that could be as bad as or worse than in 2007-2009. Changes in the geopolitical landscape are expected, while industries and sectors are potentially disrupted.
In these unprecedented circumstances, digital transformation has become a pressing necessity rather than a long-term aspiration, as it will help countries and businesses alike alleviate the impact of a looming crisis. More importantly, it will ensure sustainability and growth beyond the crisis. The digital gig economy where services are transacted through online channels, which was growing rapidly before the pandemic, would require special measures to ensure quick recovery and sustainable growth. This report reviews the opportunities ahead for Saudi Arabia, based on evidence studies and best practices in other countries and the unique characteristics of the Kingdom’s economy.