Deloitte and Huawei release insightful study on the drivers and challenges of continued digitalization in the region 

Leading government and subject matter experts recently gathered in Dubai to address prescient regional issues on digital transformation at Huawei’s second annual Middle East Innovation Day. The leading global ICT solutions provider’s Middle East edition of the global event was themed “Exploration, Lights the Way Forward”, and hosted a high-profile panel of international and regional government and industry representatives.

The event featured several keynote speakers, as well as a panel that included leaders and experts from Dubai Municipality, Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, GSMA, Dubai Airports, Higher Colleges of Technology and Huawei Middle East. Their discussion focused on role of ICT innovations, openness and perseverance in driving digital transformation and building sustainable knowledge-based economies in the region. The panel also addressed some of the continued challenges and best practices from across the world to address them.

One of Huawei ME Innovation Day key activities was the launch of an insightful new research report titled, “National Transformation in the Middle East – A Digital Journey.” The joint Huawei-Deloitte white paper assesses the digital transformation initiatives being undertaken by government entities in the GCC region in the context of global trends.

The findings of the report estimate that every 20 percent increase in ICT investment results in an over 1 percent growth in a country’s GDP, and that while Middle East government entities are expected to spend close to 15bn USD in 2017 in digital transformation-enabling technologies, even the most advanced countries in the region lag behind other developed economies in digital development.

The paper deep dives into six key themes that are considered of high priority to local policymakers whilst providing global experiences for successfully undertaking digital transformation across these themes. It also provides a roadmap and recommendations for regional governments to effectively overcome the continued challenges faced in the pursuit of digital transformation.

“While there is intense interest and dedication to digital transformation across the GCC, on average, the region still lags behind other developed economies when it comes to digital government. Nonetheless, we are excited by the substantial focus national visions and agendas have put on ICT innovation in the coming years,” said Emmanuel Durou, Partner and Leader for TMT in Deloitte Middle East. “Digital technologies represent an unprecedented opportunity for the public sector across the Middle East to reinvent itself. Through the convergence of technologies like social apps, mobile tech, big data analytics and cloud infrastructure, we see an intense expansion of the digital ecosystem in the coming years.”

“Huawei’s ME Innovation Day was created so that we can bring together experts from across the region and the world to discuss the drivers and challenges around ICT innovation in the Middle East,” said Safder Nazir, Vice President, Digital Industries, Huawei Middle East. “This drive is typified by the research paper we co-generated with our partners Deloitte. Our findings illustrate some of the continuing challenges with digitalization in the region, but also offer hopeful recommendations, identifying the opportunities for developing next generation healthcare, smart government, smart cities, smart tourism, fully automated urban travel, and the classrooms of the future.  We will continue to do our part, along with our partners, both local and global, to contribute to the GCC’s digital transformation journey.”

Other highlights of the event included a keynote speech by HE Dr. Mohammed A. Al Amer, Chairman of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority Bahrain, who brought into light the role government policies serve as key drivers of digital transformation by leveraging their regulatory power in collaboration with the private sector ICT innovation. Ugo Valenti CEO of Smart City Expo World Congress served as the event’s international speaker, highlighting exciting examples of the success of collaborative ICT projects on developing safe, integrated, digitally innovative cities.

Huawei ME Innovation Day is part of a global initiative to address pioneering issues in the world of ICT. The Middle East version continues to be an industry communications platform, accelerate the digitization process and position the Middle East as leading hub of global exploration.

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