Monday, February 8, 2010

Qatar’s IT sector set to grow: BMI report

Qatar’s IT sector may be worth in excess of $400mn this year and about $600mn by 2014 given the country’s prospects in energy, banking and telecom sectors, researcher Business Monitor (BMI) said in its latest report.

Qatar may not have the largest IT market in the Gulf, but in 2010 it appears ‘better positioned’ than some other markets in the region to benefit from economic recovery, it said.
“Despite a deceleration in many market segments last year, 2010-2014 IT spending compounded annual growth forecast (CAGR) for Qatar is forecast at 10%, with opportunities in sectors such as hydrocarbon, banking and telecoms,” Business Monitor said. 

In 2010, IT managers will probably remain ‘cautious’, after some projects were scaled back last year. However, there could be a boost, particularly in the second half of the year, from computer hardware tenders delayed from 2009. The Qatari IT market has a number of ‘positive factors’ that should help it going forward, Business Monitor said. The government ‘remains keen’ to promote economic diversification and aside from oil and gas, banking is likely to be the one of the more important sectors in terms of IT investments.

Qatar’s IT sector received a boost last year when Qtel announced that broadband Internet speeds had been doubled to 1Mbps from 512Kbps. Research released by Qatar’s Supreme Council for Information and Communication Technology in Qatar (ictQATAR) showed mobile penetration exceeding 120%. The Qatari ICT authority has a number of priority policy areas, including telecoms liberalisation, online government, e-learning, e-health and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). A government target is to increase utilisation of ICT by SMEs. The government is also implementing a major IT initiative in the healthcare area, namely the development of an integrated national health information platform.

BMI forecasts a software market value of $77mn in 2010, up from $69mn in 2009. With the evolution of the Qatari IT market, a stronger strategic focus on software spending is being seen, with procurement decisions often taken at a higher executive level. Software spending is expected to grow to at a CAGR of 10% during BMI’s five-year forecast period.
Growth areas include business intelligence and other information management applications, as Qatari companies seek more efficiency in both internal collaboration and relationships with international customers and partners.

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