Governments across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) spent a combined $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 percent, crossing the $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 percent over the 2019-2023 period.
A key area DX growth in the government sector will be artificial intelligence (AI), with IDC predicting that 60 percent of national governments worldwide will have deployed AI by 2023 as they strive to improve their datacenter 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 percent over the coming years.
Governments throughout the region are also increasingly looking incorporate blockchain within their DX initiatives, with the technology becoming a powerful government tool for reducing fraud, boosting security, and establish new relationships with citizens. And while MEA governments only directed $21 million towards blockchain last year, IDC expects that figure to top $105 million by 2023, representing a phenomenal CAGR of 49.2 percent.
“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 26-27 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 theme 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.