Dubai's digital drive forecast to be worth extra $4.8bn by 2019

Senior exec at tech giant Cisco says digital innovation is setting the course for long-term economic growth in the Middle East

Tech giant Cisco estimates that Dubai’s digitisation initiatives could generate a potential AED17.9 billion ($4.87 billion) in value by 2019.

According to a blog by Cisco executive chairman John Chambers, digital innovation is setting the course for long-term economic growth in the Middle East.

While the region’s digital economy has historically lagged behind the rest of the world, it’s quickly catching up, said Chambers.

With an estimated 160 million potential users by 2025, it is estimated that the Middle East’s digital economy could contribute up to 3.8 percent annually in GDP – amounting to approximately $95 billion.

In his blog posted on Cisco's website, Chambers said: "This week I was in Dubai.. In just a few decades, the city has reinvented itself from a quiet fishing port to a global investment hub and leading travel destination, now renowned for its record-setting skyline, driverless metro and man-made islands.

"Thanks to comprehensive government investments in digital innovation with the aim of advancing key social, economic, governance and environmental indicators, this incredible transformation is expected to pick up pace in the coming years."

He added: "What’s happening in Dubai is a testament to a larger push by the UAE to position the country as a leading global digital player. The UAE’s Vision 2021 plan for diversifying the economy and creating a prosperous and sustainable economic future is commendable, and I believe that technology will be the key to making this vision a reality."

Last year, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, issued a number of new laws to drive the emirate's plan to become the world's smartest city.

The new laws aim to enhance the progress of the Smart City initiative and encourage innovation by fostering collaboration between the public and private sectors.

Chambers added: "By making digitisation a national priority, the UAE has created an ecosystem of innovation that fosters cutting edge ideas and cultivates a culture of forward-thinking.

"Through a solid framework focused on advancing innovation and creating government infrastructures, the UAE and other countries in the region can pull ahead, expand their economies, increase high-quality jobs and secure a better quality of life for their citizens in the digital era."

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