Saudi Arabia climbs to 16th place in World Competitiveness Index (2024)

RIYADH: Information technology spending in the Middle East and North Africa region is set to reach $193.7 billion in 2024, a 5.2 percent increase from the previous 12 months, according to a new report.

In its latest MENA IT Spending forecast, US-based consulting firm Gartner stated that while the outlay in the sector is set to increase, it will be at a slower rate than the 6.6 percent annual rise recorded in 2023.

This comes as tech startups based in the region secured $429 million in funding in the first quarter of the year. Additionally, MENA saw around $1 billion in tech commitments by venture capitals during the first six months of 2024.

Earlier this year, global investment manager Investcorp dedicated $500 million for growth stage tech companies in the region, while venture capital firms Singaporean Golden Gate and UAE’s Polynome Group both dedicated $100 million each for MENA-based tech investments.

Miriam Burt, managing vice president analyst at Gartner, noted that the slowing growth of expenditure in the IT sector is being caused by factors beyond the sector itself.

“While inflation in the region has eased, organizations in the Middle East continue to face challenges due to ongoing uncertainty caused by oil production cuts, downside economic risks linked to regional geopolitical tensions, as well as supply chain disruptions in key shipping routes,” she said.

“As a result, local organizations are becoming more cautious with their IT expenditures,” Burt added.

Data center spend to fall

Saudi Arabia climbs to 16th place in World Competitiveness Index (1)

The report stated that despite experiencing growth in 2023, spending on data center systems is projected to decline by 0.3 percent in 2024, reflecting a shift toward alternative capabilities.

Data center system expenditures are set to drop from $4.82 billion in 2023 to $4.80 billion in 2024.

The systems in data centers include servers, external controller-based storage, and enterprise network equipment.

“This is due to the rise in demand of alternative options such as software-defined storage, hyper-converged infrastructure software, and the ‘storage as a service’ model,” said Burt.

MENA IT services spending is expected to record an increase of 9.6 percent in 2024 to reach $19 billion, up from $17.3 billion last year.

“IT leaders in the MENA region are, in the first instance, spending more on professional and consulting services to prepare their businesses for cloud migration, AI (artificial intelligence), generative AI, and IoT (internet of things) implementations, and secondly, taking advantage of the data monetization opportunities resulting from the convergence of these technologies,” Burt added.

“Security remains a key area for IT services spending, as well as the increasing purchase of products, services, and tools through ‘XaaS’ (Anything-as-a-Service) consumption models – both contributing to the overall growth of this segment,” she added.

Demand drop of new devices

Saudi Arabia climbs to 16th place in World Competitiveness Index (2)

Device spending is expected to decline by 4.5 percent in 2024 due to uneven demand for newer devices, such as mobile phones, in different countries within the MENA region.

The subsector is set to drop from $28.3 billion recorded in 2023 to $27 billion this year.

Software is set to see the highest growth in 2024, with spending forecasted at $15.2 billion, up from $13.5 billion in the previous 12 months.

Communications services are expected to account for the bulk of 2024’s IT spending, with $127.5 billion in expenditures, up from $120 billion in 2023.

“CIOs (chief information officers) in the MENA region are expected to increase their spending on cloud services. While AI/GenAI has some influence on cloud services spending, it is not expected to have an immediate and significant impact on IT spending levels in MENA in 2024,” said Eyad Tachwali, senior director advisory at Gartner.

“Regional CIOs’ focus today is primarily on everyday lower-cost use cases rather than on costly game-changing AI,” he added.

Furthermore, the report stated that global hyperscalers, which have the ability to offer extensive infrastructure for storage and computing facilities for AI and GenAI, are accelerating investments in in-country data centers, particularly world-class green data centers.

“Some have launched sovereign cloud services tailored to the unique needs of specific Gulf Cooperation Council markets,” Burt said.

Gartner’s IT spending forecast methodology relies heavily on rigorous sales analysis by over a thousand vendors across the entire range of IT products and services.

On a separate note, other analysts state that Saudi Arabia is the fastest-growing IT market in the Middle East, Turkiye, and Africa.

Jyoti Lalchandani, regional managing director of research firm IDC, said wider information and communication technology market spending is expected to reach $37.5 billion by the end of 2024.

The comments were made during the ICT Indicators Forum hosted by the Saudi Ministry of Communication and Information Technology alongside the Saudi Communications, Space, and Technology Commission in Riyadh on April 24.

It was further noted that spending in this area across the Saudi government sector would exceed $752 million by the end of 2024 as innovative technologies become foundational to building an “experience economy.”

“AI, big data analytics, IoT, and cybersecurity spending is poised for tremendous growth and will account for almost one-third of overall IT spending in Saudi Arabia in 2024. Spending on AI in Saudi Arabia will surpass $720 million in 2024, reaching $1.9 billion by 2027 at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 40 percent – half of that will be on interpretative AI,” Lalchandani said.

“We have seen Saudi Arabia emerge as a hub for the cloud,” he added, with spending on public cloud forecasted to surpass $2.4 billion in 2024 and reach $4.7 billion by 2027.

Software-as-a-Service will account for more than 50 percent of the 2024 spending.

IDC further highlighted that spending on cybersecurity alone will surpass the $1 billion mark in 2024 and reach $1.6 billion in 2027.

“I do remember a few years ago, the cybersecurity market was estimated at about $500 million. Today, we’re talking about literally double that. We’re talking about $1 billion in the cybersecurity industry, and to hear it be called the fastest growing market in the region is really a testament to our beloved nation,” Salman Faqeeh, CEO of Cisco Saudi Arabia, said while speaking on a panel during the forum.

Saudi Arabia climbs to 16th place in World Competitiveness Index (2024)


Saudi Arabia climbs to 16th place in World Competitiveness Index? ›

Saudi Arabia advances to 16th place in World Competitiveness 2024. Saudi Arabia advanced to the 16th place in the IMD World Competitiveness Ranking 2024, issued by the World Competitiveness Center of the International Institute for Management Development (IMD).

Where does Saudi Arabia rank in GDP? ›

Worldwide gross domestic product in 2022 was at about 12,647 USD per capita. GDP in Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, reached USD 30,448 per capita, or 1.109 trillion USD for the whole country. Saudi Arabia is therefore one of the world's largest economies and is currently at rank 18.

Is Saudi Arabia a third world country? ›

Saudi Arabia, which was considered Third World politically, but is most definitely First World economically. Cuba, which was considered Second World but remains Third World economically. The same is true with North Korea, which was Second World and is Third World.

What is Saudi Arabia the world's largest market for? ›

Petroleum. The economy of Saudi Arabia is dominated by petroleum and its associated industries. In terms of oil reserves, Saudi Arabia ranks first internationally, with about one-fifth of the world's known reserves.

What is the rank of Saudi Arabia in doing business? ›

Saudi Arabia is the most improved country in the world for doing business according to World Bank report 2020. The country placed 62nd globally (from 92nd) in ease of doing business rankings among 190 countries.

Which is the richest Arab country in the world 2024? ›

Qatar. Qatar (and also the UAE) are on this list of the top 10 economies by GDP per capita ranking for 2024 benefit largely from their reserves of natural resources. Qatar has the third-largest reserves of gas in the world.

Which is the richest Arab country in the world? ›

Qatar is currently the wealthiest country in the Arab World.

Is Saudi Arabia a rich or poor country? ›

Wealth Per Capita (2022): $90,975

Saudi Arabia had a total wealth of $2.26 trillion in 2022. Since 2012, Saudi Arabia's total wealth has increased by 80.80%. Ranked 25th on our list, Saudi Arabia is one of the wealthiest countries by per capita net worth.

What is the poorest country in the world? ›

  • Somalia.
  • South Sudan.
  • Sudan.
  • Tanzania.
  • The Gambia.
  • Togo.
  • Uganda.
  • Zambia.

Is Saudi Arabia considered a developed or developing country? ›

It is well-known that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a major world producer and exporter of oil. Yet it is still a developing country where the oil sector represents the major component of its GDP and more than 85% of its total exports.

Why is Saudi Arabia so special? ›

Saudi Arabia has since become the world's third-largest oil producer and largest oil exporter, controlling the world's second-largest oil reserves and the sixth-largest gas reserves. The kingdom is categorized as a World Bank high-income economy and is the only Arab country to be part of the G20 major economies.

How rich is the Saudi royal family? ›

Some estimates of the royal family's wealth measure their net worth at $1.4 trillion. This figure includes the market capitalization of Saudi Aramco, the state oil and gas company, and its vast assets in fossil fuel reserves, making them the wealthiest family in the world and the wealthiest in recorded history.

What is famous in Saudi Arabia to buy? ›

Top Traditional Gifts And Souvenirs While Shopping In Saudi Arabia
  • Dates, Date Jam, Date Serving Dishes. Did you know Saudi Arabia is known for its dates, which is one of the best things while shopping in Saudi Arabia as a present? ...
  • Gold. ...
  • Oud Perfume. ...
  • Camel Milk Soap. ...
  • Camel Milk Chocolate. ...
  • Dallah. ...
  • Rugs. ...
  • Scarves.
Feb 17, 2024

What industry is booming in Saudi? ›

Saudi Arabia's construction industry is rapidly growing with new trends and ambitious projects. It's now one of the fastest-growing construction markets in the world. The Saudi construction market is expected to be worth USD 70.33 billion in 2024 and is projected to increase to USD 91.36 billion by 2029.

Is Saudi richer than us? ›

America's GDP hit a staggering $20.49 trillion in 2019, beating every other economy on the planet. The US is so incredibly wealthy, many states are actually richer than entire countries, including affluent nations such as Switzerland and Saudi Arabia.

Is Saudi Arabia a good place to live? ›

Are you considering relocating to Saudi Arabia? Working and living in this country can be a great experience, with attractive benefits such as tax-free salaries, career development prospects, and opportunities to travel. You'll benefit from hot weather throughout the year and generous employment packages.

Is Saudi Arabia richer than Italy? ›

Comparison: In 2022, Saudi Arabia ranked 35 in the Economic Complexity Index (ECI 0.78), and 23 in total exports ($362B). That same year, Italy ranked 17 in the Economic Complexity Index (ECI 1.29), and 7 in total exports ($634B).

What is the rank of Saudi Arabia in money? ›

Economy of Saudi Arabia
GDP rank19th (nominal, 2024) 17th (PPP, 2024)
GDP growth-0.8% (2023) 2.6% (2024f) 6.0% (2025f)
GDP per capita$33,040 (nominal; 2024) $70,333 (PPP; 2024)
GDP per capita rank35th (nominal, 2024) 15th (PPP, 2024)
31 more rows

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Amb. Frankie Simonis

Last Updated:

Views: 6094

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (56 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Amb. Frankie Simonis

Birthday: 1998-02-19

Address: 64841 Delmar Isle, North Wiley, OR 74073

Phone: +17844167847676

Job: Forward IT Agent

Hobby: LARPing, Kitesurfing, Sewing, Digital arts, Sand art, Gardening, Dance

Introduction: My name is Amb. Frankie Simonis, I am a hilarious, enchanting, energetic, cooperative, innocent, cute, joyous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.