197m Arab-world Internet users by 2017
Internet penetration rate to surge from 32% in 2012 to 51% in 2017, says new report
A new report has predicted that there will be 197m Internet users in the Arab world by 2017, with penetration growing to 51% from 32% in 2012.
According to the first Arab Knowledge Economy Report, conducted by Madar Research & Development and Orient Planet, Arab states are heading towards becoming knowledge-based economies. They are doing this by improving their education sectors through adopting new technologies, investing in IT infrastructure, and building firm R&D programmes, it said.
"Some of today's developing countries will be tomorrow's vibrant economies in the global market, which makes investment in innovation and education critical for transformation to a knowledge-based economy," said Abdul Kader Al Kamli, CEO at Madar.
"Having realised the importance of knowledge-based economy in the socio-economic growth of a country, the GCC countries have launched their e-Governance programs, while Dubai, on the other hand, has entered into the next phase with the recent launch of Dubai Smart Governance."
Indeed, the report stated that the UAE leads the Middle East in overall innovation performance, with a global ranking of 38. And Dubai is the first city in the region to establish knowledge clusters, the report said. It added that the UAE topped the knowledge economy index among Arab countries, standing at 42 globally with a score of 6.94. Bahrain came in a close second with a score of 6.9 and Oman was third with 6.14.
In other areas, the report said that Bahrain topped the 2013 ICT-use index with a score of 3.08. The country came in the top five in every IT sector, the report explained, including first in Internet user rate and second in mobile penetration rate. Qatar has the third-highest mobile penetration rate and fourth-highest Internet-user rate.