By Charlotte McDonald
Cisco is releasing findings of European Internet economy success to developing regions to aid similar achievements. The Middle East is now being exposed to the conclusions to help the region follow in Europe’s footsteps
The Internet economy in the Middle East is poised to expand rapidly provided it is allowed the freedom to grow organically, according to the findings from a White Paper by Gartner Consulting, global research organisation. The results of the White Paper, commissioned by Cisco, look to increase understanding of how and why the Internet economy of developing regions can grow into a multi-billion dollar industry as it has in Europe. Despite the collapse of the dot.com bubble, Gartner expects the Internet economy to double each year until 2004, providing that companies are left to grow organically, rather than being forced. “Business and government needs to focus on the e-enablers that will allow the Internet economy to grow freely,” said Nicholas Smith, vice president of Gartner Consulting. He also believes that companies will grow rapidly by themselves as long as the fundamental infrastructure and legislation are in place.These findings contrast with the development policies of many Middle East countries which are focused on the promotion of new business start-ups through venture capital and ambitious entrepreneurs. Mike Couzens, managing director for Corporate Communications and Training at Cisco EMEA, believes that while subsidising and promoting dot.com entrepreneurs may be simpler and more glamorous, the first priority should be creating an environment that promotes the transformation of traditional companies into online hybrids.“Middle East governments and investors need to understand that business-to-business transactions and hybrid organisations that combine the best of the traditional and the online business will be the future of economic success, not necessarily start-ups and dot.coms,” he said.