According to the report revealed by management consultancy RedSeer, the digital economy of the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan (Menap) are set to exceed $100 billion this year and has the potential to reach $700bn by 2030 if backed by adequate investment. The digital economy registered robust growth in 2021 and could expand by 42 per cent annually to $104bn this year.
Digital economy of Mena region and Pakistan could hit $700bn by 2030
However, the growth is largely dependent on the digital economy securing about $20bn in funding in the next two to three years, Red Seer said. The Menap region’s digital economy presents a significant opportunity to drive economic and societal growth as more users increasingly rely on smartphones and digital services for their transactions and activities.
According to Statista, the number of mobile internet users is expected to increase to about 357 million by 2025, up from 264 million in 2019, with a mobile internet penetration rate of about 53 per cent of the population by that time.
The UAE alone has about 9.9 million active internet users, or 99 per cent of its population, according to Global Media Insight. According to research company DataReportal, Pakistan had about 82.9 million internet users through to January, having grown 36 per cent last year, and an internet penetration rate of 36.5 per cent.
But despite Menap countries having strong digital penetration and considerable spending power, the region still lags behind parts of South-East Asia and India in terms of digital economy maturity and investment, RedSeer said.
The latest study is largely in line with RedSeer prediction last July, although it was limited to the Mena region. The region’s digital economy was expected to hit $100bn by 2023. The Menap region includes GCC countries, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco and Pakistan.
The digital economy includes high-growth sectors such as e-retail, FoodTech, mobility, online travel, education technology, health technology and FinTech, among others.