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IDC Forecast: Surge in META Region's ICT Spending with Soaring AI and Cloud Investments

The total amount spent on ICT overall in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa (META) is expected to exceed $238 billion this year, representing a 4.5% rise from 2023, according to IDC. Spending on AI is expected to reach $6.9 billion by 2027 in the META area, indicating a high market for AI in general and generative AI (GenAI) in particular. In 2024, the META region’s spending on public cloud will surpass $13 billion, indicating a 21% annual increase.

International Data Corporation (IDC) released its most recent forecasts last week as more than 400 senior executives from the most influential technology vendors, telecoms firms, and IT service providers gathered at The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre for the 2024 edition of IDC Directions Middle East, Türkiye, and Africa.

IDC said in its regional estimates for the year ahead that it anticipates expenditure on telecommunications services to rise 5% YoY to $133 billion in 2024, while IT spending is expected to climb 3.9% YoY to $105 billion. IDC predicts that digital transformation expenditure in the area will surpass $59 billion in 2024 and rise at a cumulative annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15% over the ensuing years to hit the $88 billion mark in 2027, as META’s digital economy takes shape.

“Across the META region, there is a clear appetite for AI in general and generative AI (GenAI) in particular, with spending on AI forecast to reach $6.9 billion by 2027,” said IDC’s Group Vice President and Managing Director for the META region, Jyoti Lalchandani. “However, many organizations are already questioning whether they are over-pivoting on cost reduction and not focusing enough on how AI can help them to grow their revenues. We expect revenue growth outcomes to take center stage in the next 3 to 5 years and providers must track this shift carefully with their core buyers to ensure that their AI-related offerings continue to align with the evolving business goals of their customers.”

‘Preparing Your Customers for an AI Everywhere Future’ was the theme of this year’s IDC Directions Middle East, Turkey, and Africa event. According to IDC, the region’s AI investment is predicted to hit $3.0 billion this year, an increase of 32% from 2023.

Jyoti Lalchandani of IDC moderated a panel discussion featuring the acting Group CTO at First Abu Dhabi Bank, Srinivasan Sampath, and CTO at Landmark Group, Vinay Ramesh Kumar. She stated that the AI investment priorities of end-user organizations will likely shift in the coming years as they expand beyond their initial emphasis on cost reduction.

Crawford Del Prete, President of IDC Global, delivered the keynote address at the event titled ‘The AI Moment: Welcome to the Next Era of Technology.’ He acknowledged the rise of GenAI as a period of significant innovation. Mr. Del Prete stated, “The growing role of GenAI will reconstruct the IT landscape as businesses aim to not just enhance productivity, but also devise new approaches to meet customer needs.” He added, “More and more, companies are investing heavily in GenAI to gain an edge and avoid being outpaced. In fact, by 2027, we predict global GenAI spending to surpass $150 billion, contributing to nearly 30% of all AI-related investments.”

Next, there was a session called ‘Preparing Your Customers for an AI Everywhere Digital Future.’ During this, Thomas Meyer, the Group Vice President of Research for the EMEA region at IDC, outlined the supportive mechanisms that technology vendors must establish for their consumers. “As the adoption of GenAI increases in the META region, tech suppliers must formulate a responsible AI approach,” Mr. Meyer expressed. “This strategy should include helping customers unlock funds for investments and yield ROI and significant business results for prioritized use cases.”

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