Middle East is on the verge of great disturbance as cross border data flow has increased more than hundred times. Middle East citizen themselves are leading the digitization charge. UAE, Qatar and Bahrain are among the top countries in the world which has mobile phone penetration by more than 100% and social media adoption by 70%, which is more than even United States.
UAE govt leads the Middle East in digital process adoption. Some Middle East countries have also started the implementation of core digitization process and initiatives. Other countries have also made considerable progress and seem to be futuristic with the digitization initiatives. According to the measurements by digital share in private consumption, government expenditure, imports and exports, private consumption, digital economy accounts for about 4.1 % of the Middle East’s GDP. Middle East’s digital contribution to GDP is equivalent to 50% of that of USA. While digitization has been said to be flourishing in Middle East, there are huge variations among countries. Like digital economy accounts for 8% in Bahrain, 5.1% in Kuwait and less than 1% in Qatar and Oman.
With the increased usage of digital processes in business around Middle East has highlighted the promise of gaining momentum in digital Middle East. ENOC and EPPCO have developed a prepaid fueling system that allows card less and cashless automated fuel payment. Some of the big companies are planning to become smarter by deploying digitization process with Big data, analytics, control systems and sensors. Various new business bees have been gaining popularity with the digitization processes. Global market is dominated by Uber or Didi, Careem is able to make it to the market with additional features like scheduled booking and others which is due to their involvement with the market and more strategic work along with the usage of digital marketing processes.
Digital marketing and advertising is second largest form of advertising around the globe. While some regions like MENA spend less and are still to catch up with digital advertising. This has a positive side as well, as this small scale means large scale for the future. The GCC market has combined growth rate of 7.4% in 2016 which is expected to reach 9.1% in 2017. New technology in the marketing as well as ads space has created an ad space which is first of its kind called as MENA Market place. This has opened up the opportunities to the leading publishers to modernize their advertisement processes as well as their digital advertising inventory through process of automated online auctions and others.
The future digitization in the Middle East will require the participation of all stakeholders, from private sector and individual agencies to the government leaders. Given the accelerating pace of technology and its potential to continually change our lives for many years to come, now is the perfect opportunity for the region to adapt digital practices in all departments and sectors of the economy.
The digitization process requires participation from all the sectors including government or private. Giving an exposure to the technology which will greatly affect our future in a positive way is right ahead. We just need to give a pace to the digital processes and practices which is followed in all departments and sectors of the economy.