The MENA region, led by the UAE, is turning into a centre of innovation and one of the world’s top markets for technology-based investments. The trend of investing in technology has also increased the chances of SMEs across the region in attracting funding and talent for tech-based solutions.
The e-commerce market in the GCC is set to reach $20 billion by 2020. “The GCC region is set to witness an explosion in e-commerce activities,” says Dr. Karim El Solh, CEO of Gulf Capital. He continues, “This trend will undoubtedly generate attractive investment opportunities for regional and global investors.”
News of the acquisition of Souq.com by Amazon, and JadoPado by Emaar chairman Mohammed Alabbar has inspired investors, local and foreign alike, to commit to the region’s tech industry.
E-commerce in UAE is primarily dominated by Souq.com and other players such as JadoPado, and Namshi. Domestic retailers like Landmark and Apparel have also been pushing the agenda of online shopping in the GCC.
According to The National, The UAE hosts more than a third of MENA’s investment community, with the biggest tech investors located in Dubai. it also reports that more than US$1 billion in investment funds for technology start-ups will be raised in the UAE this year.
In Saudi Arabia, the government has planned to turn the Public Investment Fund, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, into a major tech investor – partnered with Japan’s SoftBank Group in order to create a $100B tech investment fund.
Cloud computing is the means to store and access data and programs over the Internet instead of a personal computer or mobile device. With cloud computing, resources are available at much cheaper rates and hence, can significantly lower the company’s IT expenses.
“By 2020, 95 percent of all workloads in Middle East and Africa will be processed in the cloud, compared with 78 percent in 2015,” said Samer Abu Ltaif, President for MEA region at Microsoft. He continues, “Cloud computing is therefore fundamental to business competitiveness and for the digitization of cities and infrastructure.”