Arab ICT market soars high

Adoption of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the region continues to demonstrate a healthy upward trend. Madar Research reports that the combined regional ICT index registered 24% cent growth across installed PC base, internet penetration, mobile networks and fixed land lines.

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By  Maddy Reddy Published  July 13, 2004

Adoption of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Middle East continued to demonstrate a healthy upward trend in 2003. According to a recent survey conducted by Madar Research, the combined regional ICT index registered 24% cent growth over four segments, including installed PC base, internet penetration, mobile networks and fixed land lines. In another significant indicator of ICT adoption trends, the UAE and Saudi Arabia were in the first and second position respectively in the count of high-value ICT contracts (valued at more than US$ 100,000 per contract) signed in 2003. “The ICT markets have never been more vibrant in the Middle East and more particularly in the GCC countries. The initial investments made by governments and private organisations into advanced ICT infrastructures have begun to demonstrate visible benefits in streamlined work flows, improved customer relationship and data management, as well increased profitability,” says Amed Ali Ashadawi, president and CEO, Al-Falak. “This has encouraged more and more organisations in both the public and private sectors to install new or upgrade existing ICT networks. This is reflected in the steady increase in the installed PC base and internet penetration, as well as mobile networks in the Middle East,” he adds. According to the Dubai based Madar Research Group, internet penetration, growing at 45%, has registered the steepest growth as compared to other segments of ICT markets. Mobile phone subscription has gone up by 40%. The installed PC base grew by 14% in 2003, with the rate expected to rise to 16% in 2004. The slowest growth took place in the fixed line segment. The estimated 10% of growth in this segment is reflective of the increased preference given to mobile communications. In a related survey by the research firm of top 400 ICT deals signed in the Middle East in 2003, the UAE (with 24% share of the deals) maintained its lead position in ICT adoption, Saudi Arabia (with an 18% share) had made impressive gains. In the third place were Kuwait and Egypt (tied at 10% each). Oman, Iraq and Jordan were some of the other countries that demonstrated increased ICT adoption in 2003. In another interesting development, Middle Eastern ICT technology providers have won an increasing number of ICT contracts within the region, with Egypt and UAE tied at 4 % each, along with France, Germany and India. With a 51% share of the market, the US remains the single largest provider of ICT technology, through both direct supplies and partnerships of US companies with local distributors.

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