GCC tech sector to create 600,000 jobs, add $255bn to GDP: Report

June 6, 2022

Muscat – By instituting the right policies and by developing tech champions, GCC countries could reach the level of advanced digital economies, adding US$255bn to regional GDP and creating over 600,000 technology jobs by 2030, according to a latest report released by Strategy& Middle East, a consulting firm which is part of the PwC network.

The report stated that GCC’s digital economy is expanding rapidly, but remains focused on traditional IT. GCC countries, it said, can develop what are known as ‘tech champions’ to grow their digital economies.

Tech champions are the companies that play a pivotal role in the global technology industry and help to shape the technology sectors in those countries that have forged ahead.

‘Such companies provide the economies of scale and scope necessary for innovation, talent attraction, job creation, large-scale investment, and exports. A thriving technology ecosystem leads to a strong digital economy,’ Strategy& said.

It said the GCC countries stand to gain significantly if they can close the gap with leading digital economies, which themselves continue to develop fast.

The consulting firm forecasts that the emergence of GCC ‘tech champions’, along with the right policies more broadly, could play a significant role in increasing regional GDP by a cumulative 5 per cent by 2030. That would allow the GCC countries to reach the level of the most advanced digital economies.

‘The result would be an additional US$255bn in regional GDP, of which US$119bn will be in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, by reaching advanced digital status, the region could create an additional 600,000 technology jobs in total, with Saudi Arabia alone benefiting from around 340,000 more jobs,’ Strategy& noted.

Strategy& forecasts, based on its analysis, that overall annual technology market growth in the GCC of 12 per cent from 2022 to 2025, and 24 per cent compound annual growth for digital solutions.

It further said that the GCC countries can capture the economic and social benefits promised by technological innovation and growth if they enable the buildup of national tech champions.

‘Tech champions possess the necessary economies of scale and scope to promote innovation, attract talent, create jobs, and boost investment and exports. They are able to dominate their domestic markets and grab a significant share of global markets,’ the firm said.

The GCC countries, according to Strategy&, can transform their position in the global tech market.

‘At present, GCC states are largely buyers and adopters — an unsustainable position. Instead, they should become tech disruptors by enabling the development of their own tech champions. The creation of GCC tech champions will require a concerted effort by companies that take the lead and invest, and by the government acting as a facilitator,’ Strategy& said.

The consulting firm noted that Saudi technology sector developments reflect events in the region.

‘Saudi Arabia has registered one of the highest rates of tech market growth in the region, and now constitutes more than half of the regional tech market. Although most expenditure still goes toward traditional IT, we see promising indications of rapid future growth for advanced digital solutions,’ Strategy& added.

The firm forecasts that the global digital economy, growing six times as fast as its traditional counterpart, can contribute up to 25 per cent of global GDP by 2025. Currently, China and the US are in a commanding position because their tech champions account for 90 per cent of the market capitalisation of the world’s 70 largest digital companies.


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