The digital economy has a promising future in the MENA region, according to the World Bank
Full digitalization of the economy for countries in the Middle East and North Africa could generate GDP per capita growth of at least 46% over 30 years. Thus, the gain for these countries is estimated at at least 1.600 billion dollars.
The digital economy should have a promising effect for developing countries. In Morocco, efforts are underway in this sector to improve its performance, according to the latest World Bank report entitled “The advantages of digital for the countries of the Middle East and North Africa: the adoption of digital technologies can accelerate growth and create jobs”. The Kingdom is among the countries working to put in place or update their data governance frameworks.
In its report, the Bank relies on the indicators by country which reveal a coverage of ICT infrastructure in Morocco overall in the world average with a telecom infrastructure index reaching 58 slightly below the world level which is 55 but a little lower than the regional average (61). It shows that 62% of the population uses the Internet in the country against a global average of 55% and a regional average of 66%.
Fixed broadband connection per 100 inhabitants stands at 4.8 (vs. 16.7 globally) while active mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants average 64.9, lower than the global average which is 77.7 and the regional average which is 86.4. It also turns out that 98% of the population in Morocco has 4G coverage, while the world average is 81% and the regional average does not exceed 86%.
The saving effect of digitization
The financial institution estimates that the complete digitalization of the economy for countries in the Middle East and North Africa could generate GDP per capita growth of at least 46% over 30 years. Thus, the gain for these countries is estimated at at least 1.600 billion dollars. “The benefits of moving to a more digital economy are exponential and governments should do everything in their power to remove the barriers that are holding this transition back. The gains will be all the greater the faster the transition,” explains Ferid Belhaj, World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa, affirming that a digital transformation “would create jobs in a region where the unemployment rate has reached an unacceptable level, particularly among young people and women. With a concerted effort, it is possible to change the situation”.
Better still, this report notes that in the first year, the gain in GDP per capita would reach nearly 300 billion dollars. He reveals that the growth gains would be more significant in low-income countries where they would amount to at least 71%. And that’s not all. The use of digital technology could also boost women’s activity. “Universal adoption of digital technologies would double the female labor force participation rate, with an increase of about 20 percentage points over a 30-year period (i.e. an increase in the number of working women from 40 to 80 million) ”, underlines the same source adding also that employment in the manufacturing sector would increase by at least 5% over 30 years, with the key 1.5 million additional jobs over this period, i.e. an average of 50,000 new jobs every year. Along the same lines, temporary unemployment would drop from 10% to 7% over a period of six years and would disappear in 16 years.