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Surge in MEA govt ICT

IDC expects a surge in Middle East and Africa government ICT spending as new fibre-optic cables boost e-government services.

In a new report, IDC says ICT spending by governments in the region totaled USD5.35 billion last year, and is set to enjoy double-digit growth this year.
It says MEA governments’ ICT spend will surge 10.7% year on year in 2011 as they look to encourage greater adoption of ICT by revamping outmoded regulatory regimes.

Information and communication technology (ICT) will increasingly be recognized as a key driver of economic growth and productivity across the Middle East and Africa, says Mukesh Chulani, senior research analyst for the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey at IDC Government Insights.

Many governments across the region acknowledge through their national strategic plans that decisive action is required to mobilize citizens and residents and develop ICT capabilities. Much of the interest in ICT regionally is linked to its potential for raising productivity and supporting innovation through more efficient utilization of capital and labor.

Chulani also expects the rollout of regional fiber-optic networks to stimulate the deployment of technology services by MEA governments. The lack of adequate network communications infrastructure has previously inhibited the efficient and affordable provision of ICT-based services by the MEA public sector, he says.

But plans are in place to lay an additional 60,000 kilometers of fiber-optic cable in the region over the next 18 months as part of USD2.5 billion worth of investment aimed at developing world-class telecommunications networks, and this will undoubtedly help alleviate any internal resistance when deploying e-government services to residents.

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