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Top 10 Middle East IT stories of 2021

The Middle East is about more than oil these days, with advanced technology industries developing across the region. Here are Computer Weekly’s top 10 Middle East IT stories of 2021

The Middle East has embarked on a seismic economic transformation, as countries such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia reduce their economic reliance on oil and gas revenues.

Technology is being harnessed in two ways by these countries. An IT sector is being established with overseas markets in its sights, while technology such as artificial intelligence is being used to support other emerging industries in the region.

Furthermore, it’s important that IT professionals watch the region, as countries such as the UAE desperately need new talent and are opening up to IT professionals from across the world. These IT specialists could take part in world-leading IT projects backed by willing governments with deep pockets.

Here are Computer Weekly’s top 10 Middle East IT stories of 2021:

1. Can UAE become a world leader in AI?

The UAE has launched multiple programmes as it bids to be a world-leading location for artificial intelligence innovation.

2. UAE offers ‘golden visas’ to coders as part of national IT skills programme

The United Arab Emirates is offering visas to coders across the world as it attempts to attract talent to support its economic diversification.

3. What does Saudi Arabia’s autonomous vehicle agenda mean to the rest of the world?

If all goes according to plan, within a few years, one million people will live in Saudi Arabia’s “city of the future” – and every one of them will depend on a fleet of self-driving cars.

4. Dubai International Finance Centre’s data protection law to be boosted by new federal regulation

New UAE data protection regulation is on the horizon, a year after a Dubai-specific law came into force.

5. How Gulf SMEs are building digital resilience amid the pandemic

SMEs in the Gulf region have accelerated their digital transformations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

6. How the pandemic accelerated the Gulf’s edtech revolution

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital learning technologies in the Gulf region’s education sector.

7. Bahrain hopes 5G roll-out will attract more tech firms to its shores

Bahrain has completed its 5G roll-out, which will support its IT infrastructure in creating the right environment for technology firms.

8. Nokia and Ooredoo initiate 4G and 5G fixed wireless access deployment across Oman

Leading comms tech provider and local Oman operator begin 4G and 5G fixed wireless access deployment for services covering homes and businesses throughout the country.

9. Gulf hospitals flock to digital health to manage lifestyle diseases

The Middle East is accelerating its take-up of digital healthcare technologies following lessons learned in the Covid-19 pandemic.

10. Saudi IT spending to hit $11bn in 2021

Saudi Arabian organisations will spend about $11bn on IT this year, with emerging technologies high on shopping lists.

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