“Today, more than any other time, we need to boost innovation among young people, build nurturing environments, and encourage our schools and universities to equip our youth with skills in research and discovery methodologies. We want our public and private sectors to explore new horizons to develop our economy. Innovation is our only way to build a great history of the UAE.”
H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai
“The Middle East and North Africa region is next. When four or five of the current technology winners grow into the $1 billion tech companies they promise to be, they will attract international VC investors. When this happens, it is going to be a quantum leap for the region.”
Danny Farha, CEO of BECO Capital, a regional venture capital firm focused on technology investments in the MENA region
There is an huge, untapped market of 350 million in MENA in an area as expansive as the United States.
The proportion of Arabs online grew 30-fold between 2000 and 2012. Shaking off their stuffy image, 41% of Saudi internet users are on Twitter, the highest rate in the world. But Arabic speakers have far less content in their native language than others do. By some estimates, fewer than 1% of all web pages are in Arabic.
“This is the last Internet gold rush to be had.”
Khaldoon Tabaza, Founder and Managing Director of iMENA Group
“But I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that there will be a lot more people – billions likely – around the world in the next decade who will have a lot more technology in their pockets than five years ago. This means problem solving and engagement overall happening more bottom up; it means more people can do things at home and in their own regions; it means there are going to be surprises from all over the world.”
Christopher Schroeder, author of Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East
“This is a new Arab growth model – based on entrepreneurship, not government contracts.”
Thomas Friedman, New York Times Columnist and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner