Havier Haddad, Manager Director – Gulf at Dell Technologies outlines how Middle Eastern and North African governments are embracing AI, blockchain, and IoT and driving digital transformation. With a surge in IT spending, they are reshaping public services and fostering a thriving digital economy.
The world around us continues to evolve with artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, 5G, cryptocurrencies, and the Internet of Things (IoT), improving how we communicate and exchange information. Increased digitization and the growing interconnectedness of people, organizations, and machines is already having a profound impact on the world’s economies. Recognizing this potential, government strategies today are emphasizing the role of digital in accelerating economic diversification, promoting sustainability and ensuring citizen happiness.
Today, technology is driving significant transformation within the public sector, enabling the development of digital economies and the delivery of improved citizen services. Digital economies are characterized by the use of digital technologies to facilitate economic activities, such as online transactions and the sharing of information. These economies also often feel the benefit of technology by increased competition, a focus on innovation and enhanced productivity.
According to Gartner, the MENA IT spending is projected to total $183.8 billion in 2024, up from $176.8 billion in 2023. The surge in growth can be attributed to the increasing adoption of AI, multi-cloud, edge, future of work and security solutions within the public sector.
Generate value through digital transformation
As government organizations continue their digital transformation journey, there are a handful of practical focus areas they must keep in mind to enable productive, outcome-driven collaborations:
- Bring greater agility to agency operations with flexible IT. Transform static IT into responsive, on-demand, robust IT services that can fuel your agency’s agenda while keeping administrative workloads small.
- FOW Empower employees to succeed, anytime and anywhere. Technology users in government have always been a mixed population of mobile and office-based workers. Today, they need to be able to work productively from anywhere — agency offices, remote locations and in transit.
- Spur innovation by making better use of data assets. Purpose designed data storage and processing can help you simplify and secure data management and translate information into innovations and decisions that benefit constituents.
- Augment cybersecurity across agencies, services, applications, devices and systems. In addition to using secure devices and infrastructures, you can deploy and integrate targeted solutions to safeguard user identities, data, and systems, and to recover quickly from digital attacks.
- Drive competitive advantage through AI. Adopt AI strategies and benefit from its transformative powers to drive innovation, enhance efficiency, and address complex societal challenges in an increasingly digital world.
- Build centres of knowledge and innovation. When we look at future skills development and building the workforce of the future, we need to understand that these areas allow us to unlock a lot of potential for the future growth of digital economies. New technologies can unlock new kinds of value and revenue generation. Thanks to automation, workers can spend time on more valuable, mission-critical work and less time on repetitive, automate-able tasks.
One of the key benefits of technology in the public sector is the ability to deliver improved citizen services. For example, most countries across the Middle East now use technology to provide online access to government services, such as renewing driver’s licenses and paying taxes. This not only makes it easier for citizens to access services, but also reduces travel costs and commuting time to government offices.
There are strong examples of digital government such as:
- The e-Gate system at Hamad International Airport allows registered travelers to quickly pass through immigration control by using biometric authentication, enhancing their arrival and departure experience.
- The Royal Oman Police E-Services allows users to report incidents, issues visa and traffic-related transactions through their online service.
- Metrash2, a mobile app developed by the Ministry of Interior in Qatar, allows residents to access various government services, including traffic updates, visa status and residence permits from their smartphones.
- Kuwait’s eVisa System offers an eVisa system for travelers, allowing tourists and business visitors to apply for and obtain visas online.
Winning in the digital economy requires a combination of technical understanding, pioneering leadership, and a sense of vision and determination to encourage an ecosystem of innovation. Government leaders who engage with these possibilities today could be shaping the digital economies of tomorrow. By placing ICT transformation programs at the heart of their national plans and through collaborations with the private sector, governments are already leading the way in securing a viable future for their citizens while raising their national competitiveness on the global stage.
These digital transformation agendas represent nation’s efforts towards unlocking the region’s potential to radically improve healthcare, education, public services, among others, all with a view to making a positive contribution to society and building the extraordinary future we will live in.