Top 10 Middle East stories of 2020

The Middle East is rapidly becoming a leader in digital transformation. There is good reason for this – the countries that make up its member states are investing in diversifying their economies.

While reducing a heavy reliance on oil revenues is a huge step for a region that has grown wealthy from an abundance of the black stuff, the great advantage for many of the oil-rich countries in the Middle East is that they have cash to invest while making this transformation.

As a result, the likes of Saudi Arabia and the UAE are using advanced technology such as artificial intelligence to support new industries such as healthcare and financial services to gradually replace oil revenue as they dry up.

This has been happening for a number of years and, as some of the articles in this top 10 show, organisations in the Middle East face the same challenges as those in the western world.

But the Middle East is diverse and countries find themselves at different stages of their digital journeys. Take Egypt. The North African country is currently in the early stages of investing in a technology industry by comparison with some of its neighbours.

Egypt is, for example, at the stage where new laws are being introduced to support a datacentre industry, while its citizens are being offered training in using technology. One thing is for certain – tech education is vital if the region is to create a prosperous IT sector. Filling skills gaps will become a huge challenge in the future.

While oil will spring to mind for many years to come at the mention of the Middle East economy, this year’s top 10 Middle East articles tell a different story.

1. How Saudi Arabia is using cloud to navigate the Covid-19 downturn

Organisations in Saudi Arabia are using cloud computing services to help them navigate challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

2. $60m Middle East tech fund targets 120 startups

Venture capital fund expects rapid regional technology growth in the post-Covid-19 world.

3. Egypt’s datacentre plans take key step forward

Government lays the foundations for a datacentre industry with its new data protection law.

4. Saudi Arabian authorities work with Chinese IT giants on digital goals

Saudi Arabia has signed two agreements with Chinese IT suppliers as it strives to deliver its ambitious programme to diversify its economy.

5. Aramex ships in Rackspace Technology to accelerate datacentre downsizing

Dubai-based international shipping and logistics firm is in the midst of a cloud-focused digital transformation designed to tighten up its last-mile delivery operations.

6. CIO interview: Miguel Rio Tinto, Emirates NBD

The Dubai-based banking group’s CIO, Miguel Rio Tinto, talks about its ambitious digital transformation plans.

7. Flagship digital investment at Abu Dhabi’s Adnoc pays off

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company sees flagship digital project in high demand after proving its value in responding to the Covid-19 crisis.

8. Abu Dhabi government launches peer-to-peer coding campus

Abu Dhabi government launches a specialist programming school that uses peer-to-peer teaching methods and gamification.

9. Egypt offers free tech scholarship to 100,000 citizens

Egypt’s youths are being offered free training to help them to prepare for the careers of the future.

10. Saudi Arabia sees cyber security boom as coronavirus bites

Saudi Arabian CIOs have been forced to increase their security posture as the Covid-19 pandemic transforms working methods.

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