Digitisation of region 'needs $235 billion'
Dubai, March 6, 2013
Harnessing the benefits of digitization in the Samena region (South Asia, Middle East and North Africa) would require an investment of $235 billion by 2020, according to a study.
The benefits of this investment will be shared by players within the ICT sector, across all economic sectors and the government, said the Samena ICT Policy Assessment and Digitization Study, initiated by the Samena Council and conducted in collaboration with Booz & Company, a globally renowned management consulting firm.
The objective of the study included understanding the state of digitization in the region, benefits of promptly executing national digitization plans and ICT policy frameworks required to capture those benefits, said a statement.
The study was presented at the Samena Council’s “Beyond Connectivity 2013 conference” in Dubai.
Opening the conference, Group CEO of Batelco and chairman of the Board of Directors of the Samena Council, Shaikh Mohamed bin Isa Al Khalifa highlighted the need to define new digital agendas and create an enabling environment for the adoption of digital services, integrated ICT applications and digital tools can be accelerated.
“It is critical for us to collectively work toward ensuring our future ICT policies are created and harmonized on the pillars of knowledge, collaboration, commonality in developmental goals, and the passion to achieve human success,” he said.
“We need to develop and sustain processes for accelerating digitization in our economies, to guarantee social and economic progress throughout South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa,” said Sheikh Mohamed.
Bocar BA, CEO of the Samena Council, said: “The Samena Council’s study has shown that digitization will drive substantial investment initiatives throughout the region’s expanding ICT ecosystem. Digitization is the future and a proven path to developing digital economies. If existing ICT policies are refined or new ones created with modern digital needs in perspective, the resulting accelerated rate of adoption of digital services will bring about substantial socio-economic benefit throughout the 25 markets that we have assessed in this study.”
Conducted at a regional level, with special focus given to 10 countries, the study shows that:
• Countries in the Samena region are aware of digitization’s importance and of the role of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector as an economic enabler. However, an assessment of the extent of digitization across key economic sectors in the region shows that most digitization applications in the region are limited in both scale and scope. The most active form of digitization has manifested itself in mobile banking, which comparatively enjoys a higher adoption rate.
• Digitization will impact the society’s ability to transform itself and the governments’ capacity to realise transparency in governance and achieve economic efficiency.
Samena represents over 40 telecommunications operators in 25 markets, representing an aggregate subscriber base of 700 million mobile users, 79 million fixed-line users, and 22 million broadband users. - TradeArabia News Service
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