Telecoms to save region's economy, or will the region's economy save telecoms?

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Forgive the headline but this week has thrown up a couple of confusing indicators. On the one hand we have a report from consulting firm Booz & Co that suggests the telecom sector could be the vehicle of economic recovery for the MENA economy and, on the other, a report from research firm, Light Reading Insider, which reckons developing markets will fuel telecoms capex growth - starting next year.
 
Booz & Co advocates that policymakers and regulators that take action to realise the catalytic effect of the telecom industry now will be able to create multiplier effect that helps rejuvenate a nation's entire economy. The firm also emphasises the importance of telecoms to the overall economy and its ability to enhance its vitality for the long term. 
 
I'm not fully buying into this. Yes, telecoms offerings can be great for increasing productivity, driving operational efficiencies and reaching new markets but I don't think anyone's suggesting that telecoms could have done anything to help General Motors, for example. To my mind telecoms doesn't create money, it facilitates the making of money.
 
Nevertheless, if this tangle of mutual back scratching can be extrapolated, it's a win-win situation all round. Light Reading Insider reckons that telecoms capex will begin to rise again in 2010, largely as a result of the sorts of government spending that Booz is advocating but also a result of service expansions into new markets. Africa and the Middle East will be the fastest-growing markets, but their total capex will still account for less than 10% of worldwide spending in 2013. That suggests to me that capital investment from governments in the region will underpin the growth of telecoms services which will underpin a wider economic recovery. Is that the virtuous circle we hear so much about or is it all too good to be true?
Anthony Plewes

After a Masters in Computer Science, I decided that I preferred writing about IT rather than programming. My 20-year writing career has taken me to Hong Kong and London where I've edited and written for IT, business and electronics publications. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Stewart Baines where I continue to write about a range of topics such as unified communications, cloud computing and enterprise applications.