Gartner forecasts MENA IT spending to grow five percent in 2024

Gartner forecasts MENA IT spending to grow five percent in 2024

IT spending in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is forecast to total US$193.7 billion in 2024, an increase of five point two percent from 2023, according to the latest forecast by Gartner. The annual growth is down from six point six percent growth in 2023.

“While inflation in the region has eased, organisations in the Middle East continue to face challenges due to ongoing uncertainty caused by oil production cuts, downside economic risks linked to regional geopolitical tensions as well as supply chain disruptions in key shipping routes. As a result, local organisations are becoming more cautious with their IT expenditures,” said Miriam Burt, Managing VP Analyst at Gartner.  

Shrinking investments on data center systems reflect a shift towards alternative capabilities

Despite experiencing growth in 2023, spending on data center systems is projected to decline 0.3 in 2024 (see Table 1).

Table 1. MENA IT Spending Forecast, 2023-2024 (Millions of US Dollars) 

  2023 Spending 2023 Growth (%) 2024 Spending 2024 Growth (%)
Data Center Systems4,8265.54,809-0.3
IT Services17,3384.619,0169.6
Communications Services120,0269.0127,5846.3
Overall IT184,1246.6193,7315.2
Source: Gartner (June 2024)

The systems in data centers consist of servers, external controller-based (ECB) storage, and enterprise network equipment. The forecasted decline can be attributed to a decrease in regional spending on ECB storage. “This is due to the rise in demand of alternative options such as software-defined storage (SDS), hyperconverged infrastructure software (HCIS) and the ‘storage as a service’ model,” said Burt.

MENA IT services spending is expected to record an increase of nine point six percent in 2024. “IT leaders in the MENA region are, in the first instance, spending more on professional and consulting services to prepare their businesses for cloud migration, AI, generative AI (GenAI) and IoT implementations, and secondly, taking advantage of the data monetisation opportunities resulting from the convergence of these technologies,” said Burt. “Security remains a key area for IT services spending, as well as the increasing purchase of products, services and tools through ‘XaaS’ (Anything as a Service) consumption models – both contributing to the overall growth of this segment.”

Devices spending is expected to further decline four point five percent in 2024. This is due to uneven demand for newer devices, such as mobile phones, in different countries within the MENA region.

GenAI Will Not Have Immediate Impact on MENA IT Spending Levels in 2024

“CIOs in the MENA region are expected to increase their spending on cloud services. While AI/GenAI has some influence on cloud services spending, it is not expected to have an immediate and significant impact on IT spending levels in MENA in 2024,” said Eyad Tachwali, Senior Director Advisory at Gartner. “Regional CIOs’ focus today is primarily on everyday lower cost use cases, rather than on costly game-changing AI.”

Furthermore, global hyperscalers, with the ability to offer extensive infrastructure for storage and computing facilities for AI and GenAI, are accelerating investments in in-country data centers, particularly world-class green data centers. “Some have launched sovereign cloud services tailored to the unique needs of specific Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) markets,” said Burt.

Gartner’s IT spending forecast methodology relies heavily on rigorous analysis of the sales by over a thousand vendors across the entire range of IT products and services. Gartner uses primary research techniques, complemented by secondary research sources, to build a comprehensive database of market size data on which to base its forecast.

The Gartner quarterly IT spending forecast delivers a unique perspective on IT spending across the hardware, software, IT services and telecommunications segments. These reports help Gartner clients understand market opportunities and challenges.

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