Saudi Gazette reportRIYADH — Tech giant Apple has picked Riyadh as the headquarters of Apple Developer Academy, making the Saudi capital the first city in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to host a branch of the premier institution. The landmark move comes as a fillip to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and an affirmation of Saudi Arabia’s leading role in the region.In its first phase, the academy will be dedicated to programmers and developers, in support of efforts for women empowerment and the ongoing massive social reforms under Vision 2030.As part of the agreement, the prestigious international company will work in tandem with the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones represented by Tuwaiq Academy in partnership with Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University.Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Swaha thanked the Apple Developer Academy for choosing the Kingdom to be the first country in the MENA region to host the global Apple academy for programming and development.“This qualitative move is an investment in the digital minds and skills of our girls in their journey of building the innovative future of the nation and the transformation towards an economy based on innovation and digital transformation."He also lauded Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones (SAFCSP), Tuwaiq Academy, and Princess Nourah University (PNU) for this national achievement.For his part, Minister of Education Dr. Hamad Al-Sheikh praised this qualitative and distinguished partnership, saying that this will be a key center for producing programmers and technology developers among the daughters of this country to support the needs of the market.PNU President Dr. Inas Bint Suleiman Al-Issa expressed her great happiness as the university hosting the Apple Academy, saying that this confirms the superiority and strength of the Kingdom’s presence in the region.“Today, in cooperation with our strategic partner SAFCSP, represented by Tuwaiq Academy, we are pleased to announce the launch of the first Apple Developer Academy at PNU, the largest women’s university in the world.”On his part, the chairman of the Board of Directors of SAFCSP and the Tuwaiq Academy Faisal Al-Khamisi expressed his great happiness with this distinguished partnership with the prestigious international company Apple.“It is one of the fruits of the great and unlimited support that the technology sector finds from Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman in pursuit of achieving the goals of Vision 2030 and supporting efforts to empower women and increase rates of employed women. It will contribute to achieving the social and economic goals of our ambitious Vision, which will make this partnership one of the important aspects in supporting these trends during the next ten years.”Al-Khamisi said the academy will work to provide tools and training for aspiring female entrepreneurs, developers and designers to establish start-up companies and find many jobs in the field of iOS applications, through several focus tracks: programming, business applications, marketing, design, and professional skills.He drew attention to the fact that this exceptional partnership is further evidence of the Kingdom’s commitment to providing digital professionals with the comprehensive tools they need to qualify application developers, leaders in the technical field and entrepreneurs at a global level of qualification, in response to the increasing demand in the technical sector, in implementation of the directives of the Crown Prince as well as to achieve the objectives of the Vision 2030.“In our partnership with Apple, we will work together and strive to create an economic ecosystem for business to instill skills that enhance innovation and technology, and ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for our local community and the societies of the world that will undoubtedly benefit from the technical cadres that will receive education and training at the Apple Academy,” he added.The world’s premier academy provides students the opportunity to build a foundation for work and a career in an app economy. It focuses on coding, design, entrepreneurship, and essential professional skills. The academy has contributed to the establishment of more than 160 startup companies around the world.