In Morocco, 98% of the population benefits from 4G coverage

In Morocco, 98% of the population benefits from 4G coverage

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.

Indicators

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.

The recommendations

The World Bank report shines the spotlight on the region’s resistance and paradoxes in the use of digital technology. It comes up with several key conclusions for the development of the digital economy. Thus, he evokes “the consequences of the emergence of astronomical quantities of social and economic digital data and examines the problems and risks related to the way in which data are accessed, saved, processed and deployed”, indicating that the use of digital data should be guided by an effective data governance framework that inspires trust in digital information flows and helps mitigate the risks posed by digital technologies, such as anti-competitive practices by dominant firms, the protection of the privacy of individuals and the dissemination of disinformation through social networks. This document also recommends that countries in the region prioritize the expansion of electronic payments in addition to universal access to broadband. According to the same source, “To reap the fastest economic benefits from digitization, priority in access to digital broadband should be given to underserved populations”. With regard to online public services including digital cash transfers, electronic payment mechanisms for public services and paperless procurement, the Bank sees great promise in facilitating the rapid expansion the use of electronic payment, so as to quickly establish a level of confidence and ease in the use of electronic payment methods for commercial purposes.

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