Governments across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) spent a combined US$12.8 billion on information and communication technologies (ICT) last year, according to the latest findings from International Data Corporation (IDC).
The global technology research and consulting firm expects this figure to continue rising over the coming years at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.8%, crossing the US$15 billion mark by 2023.
Digital Transformation (DX) initiatives will be responsible for driving much of this growth in the MEA region, with government spending in this space forecast to increase at a CAGR of 17.6% over the 2019 to 2023 period.
A key area of DX growth in the government sector will be Artificial Intelligence (AI), with IDC predicting that 60% of national governments worldwide will have deployed AI by 2023 as they strive to improve their data centre management, service and information accuracy and constituent interactions. To this end, government spending on AI in the MEA region is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 22.2% over the coming years.
Governments throughout the region are also increasingly looking to incorporate Blockchain within their DX initiatives, with the technology becoming a powerful government tool for reducing fraud, boosting security and establishing new relationships with citizens. And while MEA governments only directed US$21 million towards Blockchain last year, IDC expects that figure to top US$105 million by 2023, representing a phenomenal CAGR of 49.2%.
“Governments across the region are under mounting pressure to become both more efficient and more effective,” says Jyoti Lalchandani, IDC’s Group Vice President and Regional Managing Director for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa. “However, this is proving to be a troublesome task as many government organisations are simply not prepared for digital redesign. Whether it’s finding ways to integrate 5G, AI and Blockchain or protect against intrusions on digital trust, government agencies have a whole new set of IT skills to learn.”
These issues will come into sharp focus at the upcoming IDC Middle East CIO Summit 2020, which takes place on February 26 to 27 at Dubai’s Atlantis, The Palm. Now in its 13th year, the event will provide more than 500 CIOs and other C-suite executives from both the public and private sectors with the chance to benchmark the DX progress of their own organisations.
Running under the theme of ‘The Race to Reinvent: Connecting Leaders to Empower Digital Transformation’, the event will also provide a perfect platform for the industry’s leading ICT players to demonstrate their commitment to accelerating the Middle East’s DX journey.
Spread over two days, the event will include a dedicated panel discussion titled ‘Towards Digital Government: Building the Nation’s Future’ that will outline best practices for managing the organisational, systems and process changes needed to make government digital.
Chaired by IDC’s Jyoti Lalchandani, it will feature first-hand insights from:
• HE Saeed Al Mulla, Executive Director of Government Services at Abu Dhabi Digital Authority
• Dr Salim Al Ruzaiqi, CEO of Oman’s Ministry of Technology and Communications
• Dr Zakareya Ahmad Al-Khaja, Vice CEO at Bahrain’s eGovernment Authority