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Cloud computing in the Middle East: The next big tech market?

While the Middle East cloud computing market is still in a nascent stage, recent data centre openings and government-supported projects are making the cloud a viable option for many enterprises.

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Data centres from major players Microsoft, Amazon Web Services and Oracle have cropped up across the Middle East over the past year, adding to the existing cloud presence of Alibaba and SAP and driving government funded public cloud initiatives as well as the adoption of emerging technology by small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs).

This bodes well for economic development in the region since cloud technology, with its cost-efficient processing capabilities and data storage possibilities, is essential to unlock the potential of new technology such as blockchain or artificial intelligence (AI).

Recent regional initiatives such as the government of Bahrain's "cloud-first policy", the ascent of innovative startups, and the willingness of fast-growing SMEs to adopt emerging technology are starting to change the cloud computing landscape in the Middle East.

Despite the uptick in regional data centres, though, cloud computing in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region still lags significantly behind in comparison to the U.S. market

"The MENA region is not expected to reach the level of cloud usage that the United States had in 2017 until the end of 2022," said John Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner, in a market-analysis report.

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