With the use of artificial intelligence in many business sectors, the early adoption of 5G in several countries in the region, and the various investments dedicated to the digital development of the health, business or research industries, the future of technological innovations seems to find its place in the Arab world.
A connected region
In 2021, countries in the Arab world have invested heavily in artificial intelligence (AI), using it to explore the various opportunities for technological and economic innovation that it offers. According to IBM, artificial intelligence could contribute more than $300 billion to the GDP of the entire region by 2031.
Among others, facial recognition, used in the United Arab Emirates through the “UAE Pass“, an application that allows users to access more easily the services provided by various government agencies, banks, but also delivery companies and supermarkets.
According to the GSM Association, which represents more than 750 mobile operators worldwide, 5G has seen significant growth in the region, with 20 5G networks available in nine Arab countries by the end of 2021. The Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, estimates that within three years, 21% of connections in the Gulf will be 5G, or 17 million in total. One reason for this figure is the dramatic increase in the use of 5G devices, which will account for more than 35% of smartphones purchased in the Gulf in 2021. All in all, the Gulf countries have been true pioneers in providing 5G connectivity around the world.
According to Digital Digest, which tracks information on digital consumption in the region, more than $2.5 billion has been invested in regional digital startups. This trend shows the willingness of Arab countries to develop the technological and entrepreneurial capacity of its youth.
Although affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, like all other sectors worldwide, all indicators show that this trend is on the rise. In 2022, $170 billion of spending is expected for IT alone. Spending that far exceeds the pre-Covid IT budget.
So it’s a year 2022 focused on technology and IT for the Middle East, and the Arab world in general.