saudi arabia to account for 75% of ict spend as growth returns

D INVOICE.gifGCC countries are set to spend US$180bn over the next three years according to new research from Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz). Investment in the sector is expected to grow at a rate of 8-10%, although that pace represents a continuation of a slowdown in spending that has been seen since 2004.

Nevertheless, there's still huge growth potential in those countries. Markaz reckons that 75% of the total GCC spend will be in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, leaving just 25% of the spend coming from the other members. That leaves me with the logical assumption that there's plenty of growth left for the future outside those two markets.

Markaz' research is borne out by recent stats from analyst firm IDC which predicts the UAE alone will spend US$5bn on technology this year. IDC says companies in the Middle East and Africa are poised to spend nearly US$50bn this year, with the Gulf region contributing around 25% of that total.

It's not time to celebrate the end of the recession, though. IDC projects worldwide IT spending growth of just 3% this year with a value of US$1.48 trillion as the markets adjust to the recession's aftermath. That figure does represent an improvement on last year, which saw a 4.5% overall decline in tech spending but it still is a lower figure than that recorded for 2008.

"IT spending will not fully recover from the global recession until some time in 2011," said Stephen Minton, vice president of worldwide IT markets and strategies at the firm.

IDC also pointed out that in eastern Europe, following the 20% spending crash of 2009, things will be better with 9% growth this year. IT spending in the Middle East and Africa will also return to growth this year - of around 12% - after a 2.5% decline last year, says the firm.