I've been writing about technology for nearly 20 years, including editing industry magazines Connect and Communications International. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Anthony Plewes. My focus in Futurity Media is in emerging technologies, social media and future gazing. As a graduate of philosophy & science, I have studied futurology & foresight to the post-grad level.
This month yielded some particularly good news for the Middle East's technology areas. Not only is the ICT industry in a state of general global recovery, but the region is particularly well-placed to benefit from the rebound.
In its quarterly analysis of US and global technology markets, Forrester Research predicted that global IT purchases would grow 7.8% in US dollars. This result is particularly welcome, given worries about the fallout from the Greek debt crisis earlier in the year.
Greece's financial woes are one reason why Europe looks set to trail the Middle East's investment in ICT this year. "The US, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and Asia Pacific will be standout regions in local currency terms, while European sovereign debt concerns will keep Western and Central Europe expansion to the slowest dollar-denominated growth rate," said the Forrester report.
The Middle Eastern region can expect to see an average growth of 10.5% in its ICT investment this year, said Forrester analysts, compared to a still-healthy 9.9% for the US. Conversely, Europe would remain relatively flat.
Other analyst companies reported similar predictions. For example, in an analysis of global IT security spending, RNCOS suggested that IT security spending in the Middle East would soar 12% over the next three years, driven largely by investments from governments and financial institutions.
Respected ICT analyst firm Ovum, too, is expecting strong growth in the Middle East. Kevin White, consulting director for the MENA area, said that the Saudi Arabian market for ICT would be the strongest, with the UAE also showing strong growth. Ovum expects technology investments in Saudi Arabia investment to increase from $1.94bn in 2010 to $2.94bn in 2014, say reports. The UAE is set to grow from about $755 million in 2010 to $1.28bn in 2014, it added.
Ovum's predictions for a strong Saudi Arabian technology market mirror those in a report from Markaz, the Kuwait Financial Centre, in April. In its GCC ICT Infrastructure Report, the Centre predicted a CAGR of 8% for Saudi Arabia's technology investments through 2012, representing around half the total ICT investments in the GCC region, which consists of the six Persian Gulf Arab states (Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates).