The GITEX Technology Week, currently running at the Dubai World Trade Centre, is putting the spotlight on ICT opportunities in Africa as leading industry experts foresee the continent becoming a centre for tech investments.
This year’s event has seen a 23 percent increase in African exhibitors, from countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa. Trade delegations are also present from the likes of Kenya, Zambia, Rwanda, Uganda and Tunisia.
The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts the African ICT sector will grow by 13 percent this year, with the focus of international investors moving away from the likes of Brazil, Russia, India and China towards emerging African nations such as Nigeria. IDC says that IT spending in the Middle East and Africa region will pass US$65 billion this year, a 12 percent increase.
With African tech development and investor interest in mind, GITEX is providing the chance to further build links between the Middle East and Africa. Trade between Dubai and Africa is on the increase, with South Africa the UAE’s thirteenth most important market for non-oil exports. This increase is partly to do with the economic development of the continent, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicting sub-Saharan Africa’s economy to grow by 5.5 percent this year.
GITEX organizer Trixee Loh said: “Africa is seeing a tremendous shift towards realising the full potential of the benefits of technology, across all sectors. ICT in Africa is growing at a vigorous pace and there is ample opportunity to take advantage of technology solutions as the information economy is becoming one of the main drivers for growth.”
“As developed economies experience a slowdown, global organisations and investors are looking to emerging markets such as the MEA for growth,”said Helal Saeed Al Marri, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai World Trade Centre.
The conference connects almost 140,000 attendees from 144 countries, and is the world’s third largest ICT exhibition.