Major innovation is taking place in cities and countries around the world with the objective to enhance citizens’ lives, improve public sector services, and minimize the negative impact of industrialization on the environment. Today, from the GCC to Africa – countries across our region are showing every sign of being ready for rapid economic transformation. They are boldly investing in technology with local governments encouraging digital transformation projects across a wide variety of industries.
Shaping future digital economies in the region
The digital sector in the Middle East is poised for success like no other, with the tremendous push for digital transformation from national leadership, as well as the rapid adoption of digital technologies across the public and private sector. From robots to flying taxis to AI discoveries, the region is home to technological breakthroughs that were once figments of our imagination. With the goal of improving citizen experiences and fueling economic growth, governments across the Middle East have launched ambitious national transformation plans with a major focus on enabling digital transformation.
When governments deeply understand their physical and digital asset inventory at any given moment, they can operate with unimaginable precision, thus paving the way for smart cities and smart citizens. Dubai is one such example that has developed quickly and is leading the way by continuously embracing technology innovation to meet their Smart Dubai goal of becoming the happiest place on earth. In addition to Dubai establishing the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF), they also host the prestigious annual GITEX conference which brings together some of the region’s (and world’s) best business and technology leaders.
Notably, the UAE Vision 2021 and the UAE National Innovation Strategy prioritize digital technology as one of the top seven sectors of focus, putting the spotlight on the application and rapid adoption of new disruptive technologies across sectors. Similarly, Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 is already inspiring massive shifts in the expansion of online services including digital job boards, e-learning, online payment services, civil affairs and online issuance of commercial registers.
We are also seeing similar trends across the rest of the Gulf where technology continues to be the cornerstone of where future growth is anticipated across various socio-economic sectors. 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.
Egypt is another noteworthy example of how countries in the region are driving forward their technology plans. The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology announced that all government services will be digitized by the end of 2019. This landmark policy change means there will be direct lines of communication between the government and its constituents thus promoting a more seamless, safer, and more efficient country through digital transformation.
Expanding business opportunities
The backbone of the digital economy is hyper-connectivity which means growing the interconnectedness of people, public services, and machines. And this happens by tapping into the power of big data, IoT, artificial intelligence, cloud infrastructure, mobile technology, and higher computing capabilities. Digitization spurs the development of new industries and this in turn contributes to national GDP in multiple ways. These opportunities are not only limited to the technology industry, but also disrupts traditional industries to unlock speed, lower costs, and ensure higher quality.
Vision for the future
The future is promising. Consumer enthusiasm for digital suggests strong growth potential in the region and it is filtering into business and trade as consumers are clearly primed and ready to quickly embrace new digital offerings by linking local trade infrastructures into the wider digital world. In addition, technology helps enable and enhance citizen services that are key to improving the overall quality of life, which in turn promotes economic growth and increases the global competitiveness of countries. Across the GCC, we are seeing an immense number of initiatives where governments are rolling out robust e-government programs to transform the services they offer.
The socio-economic potential
As the region gains traction in the digital revolution and takes advantage of the digitization of trade documentation, they can leapfrog some of the bigger nations. The pace of change, however, will largely depend on what individual governments are doing now to seize the opportunities of tomorrow’s global digital economy.
This is what makes this year’s GITEX conference important, with over 250 tech giants and startups coming to the stage across 9 different sector-focused conferences for a truly empowering agenda.
Join me and the Dell Technologies team at GITEX 2019 in Dubai to explore some of these ground-breaking ICT led initiatives and learn about the technologies that will power our digital future.