Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha top Networked Society index

Ericsson study focuses on benefits of ICT for 11 major cities in MENA region

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Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha top Networked Society index Dubai was ranked as one of the leading cities leveraging the benefits of ICT in the MENA region. (Getty Images)
By  Mark Sutton Published  September 22, 2013

Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha are the leading cities for ICT infrastructure and development, according to Ericsson's first Networked Society MENA City Index.

The index, which was launched by Ericsson at its Networked Society Forum, analysed the adoption and benefits of ICT services in 11 major cities in the Middle East and North Africa.

The report showed a high level of maturity in terms of infrastructure development in the cities studied, and also indicated considerable opportunities, yet to be seized.

The index identifies 28 indicators to measure the total benefits of ICT, with indicators categorised either by two dimensions: cities' ICT maturity and benefits from ICT investments from both a social, economic and environmental point of view.

Anders Lindblad, president, Region Middle East and North Africa, Ericsson said: "ICT has become an integral part of our working environment and will continue to be an important resource for business growth. The environment of entrepreneurship and innovation is enhanced by ICT as it provides the tools and infrastructure that make it easy for entrepreneurs to start a business. ICT nurtures innovation and helps people to realize their ideas for new companies, products and services. It provides access to a market far greater than was previously possible for start-ups."

The importance of connectivity for businesses, and the empowerment it brings, was clear from the high levels of internet usage with penetration rates comparable with many international business hubs, including Shanghai and London. The report reveals that 79 percent of the population in Amman uses the internet for work, while Muscat and Doha are not far behind at 77% and 62% respectively.

Furthermore, mobility was also a key indicator from the study, with Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha all revealing 100% mobile phone usage, and other analyzed cities falling no lower than 83%. This factor was also an important enabler for those in cities with lower GDP per capita than some of the more affluent in the study, as despite low income levels it was found that many spent 10-20% of their monthly salary on mobile phone usage in order to stay connected.

Lindblad commented: "Trends suggest that more than 60% of all people in the region will live in cities by 2030. In the future, advances in technology and infrastructure performance will continue to change our lives, as ICT has the potential to help us meet some of our great societal challenges.. The report shows high levels of ICT maturity in the MENA region in terms of infrastructure and usage and indicates the untapped opportunities to leverage the socioeconomic benefits."

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