IT spending in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is forecast to accelerate in 2024, increasing 4% from 2023, according to the latest forecast by Gartner.

MENA’s IT spending is projected to total $183,8-billion in 2024, up from $176,8-billion in 2023. In comparison, global IT spending is projected to total $5,1-trillion in 2024.

“IT spending in MENA is increasing because organizations, particularly in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, continue to focus on digitalizing their IT infrastructure,” says Miriam Burt, managing vice-president analyst at Gartner. “This is required to support regional governments’ push to implement their country visions for economic diversification, enhance public-private collaboration as well as bolster sustainability efforts towards net-zero targets.”

MENA software spending is expected to record double-digit growth of 12,3% in 2024, followed by IT services spending, growing at 11,1%.

“Organisations in MENA will invest more in software and IT services to accelerate digitalisation and streamline operations by continuing cloud migration efforts and increasing automation and IoT capabilities. The spending will also be targeted to enforce compliance with regulation,” says Burt. “By 2024, we expect local organizations to increase their spending on embedding artificial intelligence (AI) into their strategic business and IT planning. Improving data management to yield greater monetization as well as strengthening cybersecurity security and risk management will remain top spending priorities in the region.”

The devices segment is forecast to experience an upturn in 2024. Devices spending in MENA is projected to increase 0,6% in 2024, up from a decline of 9,9% in

MENA IT Spending Forecast, 2022-2024 (Millions of US Dollars)

  2022 Spending 2022 Growth (%) 2023 Spending 2023 Growth (%) 2024 Spending 2024 Growth (%)
Data Center Systems 4,249 24.3 3,783 -11.0 3,852 1.8
Software 12,254 8.1 13,457 9.8 15,110 12.3
Devices 30,279 -1.1 27,272 -9.9 27,439 0.6
IT Services 16,573 10.8 17,832 7.6 19,814 11.1
Communications Services  












Overall IT 175,282 2.0 176,824 0.9 183,814 4.0

Source: Gartner (September 2023)

“The return to growth in devices spending can be attributed to various factors such as the growing aspiration of consumers in the region to own smartphones, aggressive marketing campaigns for new product launches by premium brands and the steady shift towards 5G for improved coverage, speed and consistency,” says Burt.

“Higher affordability through greater access to financing options – such as buy now pay later (BNPL) – as well as the increasing number of ways to make digital payments through smartphones are also contributing to the recovery in the segment.”

Gartner predicts that, by 2024, 40% of enterprise applications will have embedded conversational AI, up from less than 5% in 2020.

“Despite economic challenges, business executives in the MENA region are primarily investing in generative AI (GenAI) to enhance customer experience,” says Eyad Tachwali, senior director advisory at Gartner. “GenAI promises to revolutionize public and private sector engagement with customers/citizens by delivering personalized, real-time solutions to complex inquiries.”

Successful regional business and IT leaders are employing agile methodologies in their generative AI initiatives, focusing on quick testing and refinement while eliminating low-impact use cases. Currently, most MENA organisations are exploring the potential of GenAI by focusing on emerging use cases, such as generative value messaging (turning customer data quickly into customized content), coding assistance (translation of code from older coding languages).

“In the future, a cautious yet deliberate integration of GenAI is anticipated as local businesses continue to evolve their AI strategies and pinpoint specific use-cases. This will primarily be facilitated through upgrades to tools already included in existing IT budgets,” saysTachwali.