The MENA region is one of many that is in the midst of a digital transformation. This is driven by its young population and their embracing of technology as well as governments pushing towards a digital revolution and the economic upsides this can potentially bring. There are challenges to overcome, but the rapid growth of many MENA industries and startups is aiding digital transformation across the Middle East.
Digital Transformation Challenges in the MENA Region
There are many difficulties at the heart of the digital transformation, including legislation changes and regulations.
Many MENA countries are making alterations to try to make their countries more appealing to global businesses. For instance, Qatar’s National Vision outlines a plan for both modernization and the preservation of the strong traditions in the region. Tax breaks and support for businesses from overseas are among the strategies aiding transformation.
There are still challenges with some rural areas of MENA countries not having access to the highest speeds when it comes to internet connections, for instance, plus some shortcomings when it comes to privacy and IP rights; a focus on infrastructure is required to fully embrace digital.
Access to the top talent could prove to be a challenge, especially geographically. The MENA region is large and though there are some central tech hubs, many of the forward-thinking businesses in the region are spread across countries and cities.
Adopting New Technologies
We’ve already alluded to a young and forward-thinking population. The MENA region is embracing a number of modern technologies which can help to drive this growth.
MENA countries are already leading the way in industries including aviation, and the countries in the Middle East and North Africa have also shown their willingness to adopt new forms of technology.
A number of industry-leading AI startups are already operating in the area. A report by Google and The Economist claims that AI technologies could provide economic growth of around $320 billion to the region by 2030.
Blockchain technologies and even international Cryptocurrency businesses like Binance are moving into the region. Numerous startups focusing on IoT are also emerging in the area, IoT connections in this region have grown faster than every region with the exception of parts of Asia in recent years, and the CAGR of 16% will see the industry worth billions by the mid-2020s.
Other industries experiencing significant growth include EdTech, FinTech (an already huge industry in the region) and the health-tech market, which is predicted to grow at a 6.8% CAGR between now and 2030.
The emergence of the MENA countries are partially covered in recent IDC figures which predict that the spending on digital transformation in the META region (Middle East, Turkey, and Africa) will reach $74 billion by 2026.
The digital revolution in these emerging countries is facing some minor roadblocks, but the MENA region has already shown a willingness to embrace new tech, and its young population will continue to drive this transformation throughout the coming years.