Middle East 2022: Growth on the horizon, but talent gap of concern

The Middle East is continuing to develop its digital transformation initiatives across government and industry, but challenges such as skills shortages and the need to grow quickly amid increasing demands.

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Digital growth in the Middle East continues apace, with significant investment in emerging technologies supporting the digital transformation of consumer, business to business, and government-to-citizen spaces.

A recent report by Gartner predicted a 4.5% annual increase in IT spending in the MENA region to $171.3 billion this year as businesses increasingly digitise amid the changing demands of the pandemic. Government efforts have centred on future growth and cementing uptake of digital approaches. The UAE’s Fourth Industrial Revolution Network, for example, will promote innovative technologies in industry. Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology, told Gulf Business that if the UAE meets the programme’s goal, it will add Dhs25bn to the national economy by 2031.

Consumer uptake has also been growing. A recent study by MoEngage found that close to 70% of Middle East consumers were likely to switch to digital channels in 2022 to engage with top brands.

Such growth and goals, though, demand a wealth of talent to support developments in this space and this is a challenge for the region, although the groundwork has been laid through several existing and emerging initiatives.

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