Navigating through mounting developmental challenges, the Arab region continues to go through technology- enabled transformations, impacting its economies, societies and governance models. For more than a decade, an increasing number of Arab countries have realized that the ‘knowledge economy’ fueled by wide adoption and availability of information and communication technologies infrastructure will play an essential role in growth and development. The continued proliferation of Internet connectivity and largescale adoption of mobile technologies in the Arab region have created new horizons for entrepreneurship and employability in a region suffering from immense economic and developmental challenges.
These ever-changing ICT adoption trends made the ‘business case’ for delivering services through new mediums. They provided businesses and governments alike, with new channels to reach populations and markets in creative ways. Eventually, these transformations have been coupled with emerging ‘smart’ models of government-citizen interactions. As such, a critical mass of the population of the Arab world, whether on the scale of individual countries
or on a regional level, now has access to services and information in more efficient and cost effective ways, reshaping economic and social models.
Our research indicates that today, there are more than 135 million individuals using the Internet in the 22 Arab countries. This is coupled with a mobile penetration rate of around 110 percent on a regional level; and more than 71 million active users of social networking technologies.
This white paper, in its second edition, is produced by the Governance and Innovation Program at the Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government in partnership with Bayt.com. It continues to examine Internet and mobile usage trends in the Arab region. The purpose of this series is to provide policy makers, business leaders and development organizations with updated information on the usage trends in an ever-changing ‘digital landscape’ in the