Nearly 200 Million MENA Internet Users by 2017


The number of Internet users is increasing all over the world and this tendency is expected to remain strong for many years to come. However, the Arab world is currently enjoying one of the fastest growing web penetrations rates, according to a most recent study. While this is not the first research to claim this, it is the first to predict a massive jump in the amount of active Internet users in the Middle East. The study predicts that almost 200 million people in Arab countries will have regular access to the web.

The Arab Knowledge Economy 2014 report by Madar Research & Development and Orient Planet claims that Internet users in the Middle East will reach 197 million in just three years. In comparison, only three years ago, in 2011, just less than 93 million people in the region had access to the web.

The biggest jump is forecasted to be seen in GCC countries. In the Gulf region alone, Internet penetration is predicted on increase by almost 70% by 2017. This means that active web users in the Gulf will hit over 40 million in about 36 months.

The research also claims that namely GCC countries are showing one of the strongest technology performance not only in the region, but worldwide. The study’s Arab e-Performance Index, for example, ranks Bahrain and the UAE at the top positions. According to the analysts, the Gulf has become very open to innovation and technology in general. For instance, many countries in the region already offer diverse digital government services.

Top five countries in the Arab e-Performance Index 2013 – 2014:

  • Bahrain
  • UAE
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Oman

The research also predicts that this quick adoption of technology in the Middle East will allow the local population to improve its professional skills. In addition, it will help the Arab market become more competitive.


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