Posted on February 08, 2014

IT spending by the Middle East and Africa (MEA) government sector totaled $7.43 billion in 2013 and is set to see double-digit growth in 2014, according to the latest research from International Data Corporation (IDC), the premier global market intelligence and advisory firm for the information technology and telecommunications markets.

The recently released "Middle East and Africa Government Sector Top 10 Predictions, 2014" report from the IDC Government Insights team revealed that IT spending by MEA governments is forecast to increase 11.4 percent year on year in 2014, partly due to the efforts of various governments to leverage ICT in order to improve citizen-centricity and expand the reach of public services.

"Steady progress has been made by a number of countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, and Morocco, in relation to the automation and provisioning of transactional egovernment services," said Mukesh Chulani, research manager for the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey at IDC Government Insights. "When implemented with consideration to key adoption factors, we see commensurately strong uptake and satisfaction levels for these services among citizens and businesses.

For instance, Dubai recently disclosed that approximately 38 percent of all its government services are now accessed and fulfilled exclusively via its online channel, attaining a satisfaction rate of over 90 percent. In Qatar, meanwhile, more than two-thirds of expatriates and 80 percent of Qataris are now paying their traffic fines via the country's egovernment portal."

Chulani also forecast the ongoing push toward the greater mobile enablement of government services to further increase the trend toward self-service utilization. "Given the increasing smartphone and mobile penetration rates, these devices will quickly become the key contact point between residents and government institutions," he says. "When confronted with multiple service channels for interaction, a subset of individuals and enterprises in these countries will invariably change their existing usage patterns to gravitate toward those that are quicker, more intuitive, or more convenient to use."

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Top 10 ICT predictions for MEA governments in 2014:
1. Multichannel strategies will drive citizen/resident services penetration and usage in the GCC; mobile technology will be a game changer.
2. Across Africa, mobile-enabled egovernment services will be created by in-country online communities.
3. The focus of governments across Africa on developing sustainable ICT sectors will shift to a higher gear.
4. Saudization initiatives will impact Saudi Arabia's skills shortage and market stability, but the managed services alternative will only receive a lukewarm response.
5. Investments in resolving the skills shortage will focus on mobile tech.
6. Governments will focus on strengthening the security of national information assets, expanding agencies that monitor and protect the national frontline against cyberattacks.
7. The need for better procurement management will lead to increased use of technology to combat revenue leakage from fraud and corruption.
8. Increased focus on Smart City initiatives will lead to an acceleration of related projects across the GCC.
9. In Turkey, local government bodies will adopt cloud faster than their central government counterparts due to the limited availability of resources.
10. Big Data analytics projects will be jointly initiated by Turkish government entities to support their service transformation efforts.

source: Saudi Gazette