We aim to not only recognise but celebrate the diversity within the IT sector by focusing on six specific industry verticals, including channel, chief information officers, education, entrepreneurs, government, and telecommunications.
Each profile has not been ranked in any specific order, instead the profiles are listed alphabetically and offers insight into each individual, their role and contribution to the Middle East.
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) telecommunications sector is experiencing phenomenal growth, with infrastructure contracts in the Middle East alone worth some US$10 billion over the past five years. These advances in technology are being matched by developments in the business sector, with deregulation and privatisation impacting the region's communications industries.
The IT channel in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has continued to grow in recent years and it still retains the appeal rarely seen in other information and communication technology (ICT) markets around the globe. In a competitive setting, channel business involves alliances between vendors, distributors and solution providers, and in many ways, the old adage, “it’s not what you know, but who you know” could have been fashioned for the MENA IT channel, because executive movements between IT multinationals and channel organisations happen too frequently.
Sitting at the heart of technological change and potential success to accommodate the Middle East’s changing landscape are CIOs, IT directors and IT managers. They have a real opportunity to change traditional management mindsets and reposition their departments. They are now able to move from being merely support providers to valuable business units that drive growth by leveraging the right technologies at the right time.
Propelled by a rapidly expanding population, the Middle East’s education industry is growing at a phenomenal pace. A recent report from Alpen Capital states that 50,000 schools will be required in the GCC by 2020 to address an anticipated surge in the Gulf’s student population from 12.6 million in 2015 to an estimated 15 million by 2020. Additionally, the rapid string of announcements — whether it is educational ‘brand names’ arriving in the region, or the expansion of existing education providers — has turned the Middle East into the fastest growing private education market in the world.
Investment in technology is a key priority for the UAE, and are in line with the federal government’s UAE Vision 2021. Information technology is being used by the public sector in the GCC to shape the government of tomorrow. From ICT infrastructure implementations, such as security and cloud computing projects, through to emerging technologies, including drones, smart cities and the Internet of Things, are all ways in which the government is using technology to make the UAE the happiest country in the world.
The tech entrepreneurial community in the region has ventured into new territory in 2017 with multiple acquisitions and heavy investments, and thanks to two mega-rounds raised by Careem and SOUQ.com, the tech start-up investments hit a record $900m with the UAE this year. The UAE has retained the top position as the region’s tech startup hub for the fourth consecutive year, being home to one-third of all Middle East and North Africa investors and 19 venture capitalists, the highest in the region.