International Data Corporation (IDC), the premier global provider of market intelligence and advisory services for the ICT sector, announced today the commencement of a strategic consulting project with the UAE ICT Fund to develop long-term plans for the growth and expansion of the country’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector. This large-scale study will analyze the current state of the UAE’s ICT sector, assess its future growth potential and trends, examine the potential adoption of global best practices, and identify the role of the UAE ICT Fund in driving the market’s development.
ICT spending in the UAE increased 4.5% year on year in 2012, and IDC forecasts another 6.3% increase for 2013, so the outlook is certainly positive. National policymakers in several progressive and emerging economies of the Middle East and Africa, including the UAE, are increasingly focusing on building local knowledge industries in order to diversify their economies, create gainful and high paying jobs for citizens, and develop a sustainable stream of exports. Part of the endeavor is to create local intellectual property, and technology-related industries such as those based on software applications development or hardware devices offer such opportunities.
Commenting on the announcement, Jyoti Lalchandani, group vice president and regional managing director at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey, expressed his belief that the partnership exploits the natural synergies that exist between the two companies. “We are delighted to be teaming up with the UAE ICT Fund for this prestigious project,” he said. “Our global reach and local expertise, combined with our proven capabilities in analyzing the region’s ICT markets and supporting the development of national ICT strategies across the Middle East, make IDC ideally suited to conduct this project. The vast experience of our dedicated project teams has enabled us to successfully carry out similar projects around the globe, and we are looking forward to demonstrating further success this time round with the UAE ICT Fund.”
Against this backdrop, policymakers and industry-development bodies are focusing on fostering a culture of technology research and innovation, and furthermore, are supporting the commercialization of viable concepts and ideas and ensuring the availability of funding for interesting startups and entrepreneurial ventures. In some cases, government agencies are also handholding and promoting local technology companies as they try to enter new export markets. Ensuring the availability of the superior skills that are needed to not only sustain innovation but also provide the workforce for these developing industries is a critical success factor, and government agencies are developing several programs to develop a rich pool of skilled resources over the long term.
“ICT Fund will continue to advance, empower and transform every aspect of our lives. Our partnership with IDC is a clear example of our commitment to fostering the development of a knowledge economy in the UAE,” said Omar Mohammed Al Mahmoud, Acting CEO of ICT Fund. “The project is essential to the nation’s ICT sector as it helps define the milestones that enable us to increasingly invest in innovative ideas that contribute to the intellectual growth of the UAE, as well as promoting the involvement of UAE nationals in this sector.”
“We have just started the first phase of developing the study that comes in alignment with our mission and role in driving the development of the market and empowering innovation through education, research and development, and entrepreneurship”, he added.
The key objectives of this project will involve defining the long- and short-term goals for the country’s ICT sector in line with UAE Vision 2021. The project will examine key focus areas such as government ICT initiatives, research and development, intellectual property creation, and ICT funding, incubation, and entrepreneurship. It will also place a spotlight on the availability of ICT skills in the UAE, as well as on academic collaboration and emerging global ICT trends