x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

UAE spends $5bn on technology

Analysts forecast spending on information technology will grow by 8 per cent to 9 per cent next year.

Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the Minister of Foreign Trade, says the UAE will have invested US$5 billion (Dh18.36bn) on technology by the end of the year.

In addition, analysts forecast spending in the sector to grow by 8 per cent to 9 per cent next year.

The UAE is "one of the world's fastest-growing areas for ICT expenditure", Sheikha Lubna said yesterday during the keynote address at the annual meeting of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID), a UN initiative designed to encourage the use of technology in development and the reduction of poverty. The meeting was held in Abu Dhabi.

"By the end of this year, we would have spent around US$5bn on technology investments," Sheikha Lubna added. "Our government's focus on ICT as a tool for growth and competitiveness has transformed us into one of our region's most technology enabled states."

Jyoti Lalchandani, the vice president and regional managing director at the technology consultancy IDC in the Middle East and Africa and Turkey, said the parties behind such growth included "a mixture of government, public sector, as well as increased positive sentiment in the consumer space". He said "more optimism" in the SME sector was also boosting growth.

Following a decline last year, this year's ITC expenditure in the UAE will be "just over $5bn and includes spending on IT hardware, package software and IT services", said Mr Lalchandani.

"The market is seeing a rebound in 2010 and we expect to see single-digit growth this year," he said. "We're projecting an 8 per cent to 9 per cent increase in IT spending in the UAE for 2011."

In January, IDC said the Middle East and Africa region would see an 11 per cent rise in IT spending to about $50bn this year.

Sheikha Lubna, who in October was voted the world's most powerful Arab woman by Forbes magazine, said "the United Arab Emirates fully supports GAID's call to action" in achieving several Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through the use of technology.

"As a former active practitioner within the information and communications technology, I have seen first-hand how technology can expedite national development and social growth," she said.

"Five years from now, we shall either be congratulating ourselves on successfully reducing poverty, hunger and disease under the UN's MDGs - or wondering where we fell short," said Sheikha Lubna. "We need to move past advocacy and take concrete and sustainable action to move forwards our shared aspirations."