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Mena IT spend expected to reach $184bn this year

UAE Cyber Security Council chairman Dr. Mohamed Al Kuwaiti speaks at the recent Intersec conference in Dubai. The UAE is the Mena region's leading AI developer Wam
UAE Cyber Security Council chairman Dr. Mohamed Al Kuwaiti speaks at the recent Intersec conference in Dubai. The UAE is the Mena region's leading AI developer
  • Four percent rise projected
  • AI integration a priority
  • CEOs change tech strategy

IT spending in the Middle East and North Africa is projected to increase by four percent in 2024, as companies focus on upgrading software and embracing generative AI.

Spending is estimated to reach $183.8 billion, a slight increase from $176.8 billion in 2023, according to US tech company Gartner.

The use of generative AI will significantly increase, with Gartner forecasting that 40 percent of enterprise applications will use conversational AI by 2024, compared to less than five percent in 2020. 

A recent survey of more than 4,000 CEOs by PwC revealed that three out of four in the region believe generative AI will significantly change the way their companies “create, deliver and capture value” in the next three years. 

Almost half indicated they have already changed their tech strategy to take advantage of the opportunities generative AI provided.

The UAE has taken a lead in developing generative AI, with advanced large language models such as Falcon and Jais

Regional CEOs also expressed optimism, with one in four expecting job creation in the next 12 months and a majority foreseeing improvements in work efficiency and increased revenue.

“Generative AI’s integration into the workforce signifies not just a change in how tasks are performed, but also an opportunity to enrich and evolve job roles,” Mike Howells, president of Pearson Workforce Skills, told AGBI.

The software spending market is also expected to lead with 12.3 percent growth, followed closely by IT services spending at 11.1 percent. 

Miriam Burt, managing vice-president at Gartner, said organisations in the region “will invest more in software and IT services to accelerate digitalisation and streamline operations by continuing cloud migration efforts.

“Strengthening cybersecurity and risk management will remain top spending priorities in the region,” she said.

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