The GCC is at an inflection point. Recent decades have seen governments and businesses throughout the region increasingly embrace advanced digital technologies as a source of future growth. If successful, their efforts could help drive the region’s ambitious diversification plans.
Key challenges persist. A regional digital skills shortage, a lack of economic integration between GCC member states and increased competition from foreign multinationals with more experience in digital transformation all present hurdles that must be overcome. However, widespread diversification, a fast-evolving technology landscape and socioeconomic developments all point to a vast opportunity ahead for GCC companies that successfully invest in digital technologies.
These are the findings of the latest report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), supported by the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB): Innovating through Tech in the GCC. The report examines how both local and international companies in the GCC are integrating advanced technologies to offer innovative products and services to the market, especially in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
To mark the launch of this timely report the EIU and the EDB jointly hosted a webinar titled: In Conversation: The Region’s Digital Transformation. Leading figures from the Middle East ecosystems addressed the key questions surrounding the future of the data economy in the GCC, including:
- As COVID-19 speeds up tech adoption, is this a chance for GCC tech hubs to compete globally?
- Will tech progress be held back without wider economic integration throughout the GCC?
- Are we building a skills-base for the future and are we set up to attract the world’s top talent?
- Can the GCC states really become drivers of innovation rather than consumers of innovation, or will foreign companies continue to dominate?
- Is the growth in available funding for promising ideas matching the rapid pace of infrastructure development?
The speakers are experts and leaders in their fields:
- Abdulla Almoayed, a serial entrepreneur and Founder & CEO of Tarabut Gateway, the region’s first and largest Open Banking infrastructure provider.
- Mohammed Jaffar, Chairman & CEO of Faith Capital, formerly CEO of leading MENA online food delivery service, Talabat.
- Melanie Noronha, Senior Editor, Thought Leadership, The Economist Group.
The Webinar was moderated by the EDB’s own Tala Fakhro, Chief Project Officer for Market Strategy and Intelligence.