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Sustainable growth of Middle East economies requires strong technology leadership, says IDC

United Arab Emirates: Sunday, March 16 - 2008 @ 14:49

This year, total investment could reach $40.5bn – growing by more than 13% over 2007 – with GCC investment amounting to $9.1bn. Nearly 40% of this investment will be in support of new initiatives, in sharp contrast to markets like Europe and the US, where most investment is going towards replacing and updating existing technology infrastructure.

This high investment forecast has created international interest in the potential of the Middle East market. However, if the investments are to result in genuine productivity benefits for companies – and concurrent social and economic benefits – then strong technology leadership is required across enterprises and organisations.

To support the decision-making processes of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) operating within the Middle East, IDC has organised one of the most significant gatherings of senior executives and technology companies ever held in the region.

The first-ever CIO Summit held in the Middle East has the support of Dubai Internet City as a technology partner, in addition to partnerships with APC-MGE, Alcatel Lucent, Cisco, Dell, Etisalat, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, IBM, Injazat Data Systems, Intel, ITS2, McAfee, Nokia, Research in Motion, Samsung, SAP, Symantec, and Trend Micro.

Frank Gens, Senior Vice President & Chief Analyst, IDC, said: “Our forecast for 2008 is that the total IT market for Middle East and Africa will reach nearly $40.5bn – an all-time high for this region. Set against the relatively flat growth of the US market, and the much lower growth levels of Europe, the Middle East will be a bright spot in the world market.”

“Capitalising on this growth, and utilising technology to its full potential to help develop the region’s economies, requires an informed, experienced management layer across all businesses. By bringing together some of the world’s leading technology companies and the region’s most senior technology decision-makers, we’re aiming to provide a key forum to add to the understanding and the skill-set of CIOs operating in the Middle East,” added John Gantz, Chief Research Officer and Senior VP, IDC.

The ongoing development of key industry sectors, including energy, the public sector, aviation, real estate and retail, is one of the factors driving the growth of the IT sector. Much of the forecast investment for 2008 will focus on building infrastructure, including security, storage, customer relationship management, and enterprise resource planning.

IDC’s forecast for 2007 – 2011 suggests that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE will emerge as the markets with the highest compound annual growth rate. Egypt is set to realise 14.1% over the five year period, Saudi Arabia is set to realise 12.8%, Kuwait is set for 11.9% and the UAE 11.3% CAGR.

Such significant sector growth – more than double the predicted GDP growth rates – indicates the long-term potential of the Middle East technology market.

By way of contrast, only fast-growing markets like India (17% estimated CAGR) and China (8.6%) are likely to match the development levels of the Middle East market. Established markets like Western Europe (5.7%), USA (5.1%) and Japan (1.7%) will record much lower rates.

Among the speakers analysing these issues at the CIO summit will be Ahmed Abdulkarim Julfar, Chief Operating Officer, Etisalat and Graeme Hackland, IT Manager, Renault F1 Team. There will also be special roundtable sessions on security, building a data centre, energy-efficient IT, and corporate governance.

The Region’s First IDC CIO Summit
IDC thought leaders and ICT industry experts will also be on hand at IDC’s CIO Summit to provide an in-depth understanding of the new role of the CIO, covering such topics as:

• The Role of the CIO in a Region of Change
• What Keeps CIOs up at Night: Governance, Risk, Compliance?
• Data Centre Transformation and Enhancement of Business Strategy
• Transformation of ICT Societies
• Enterprise Mobility
• Simplifying Technology for Business Transformation
• Operational Excellence and Business Agility
• IT Services Outsourcing as Business Enabler
• The Dynamic Datacenter
• Green IT and Energy-effective ICT
• Managing, Motivating, and Retaining Staff
• The Future of IT and Communications Markets and Their Impact on Business

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Sunday, March 16- 2008 @ 14:49 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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