MENA Digital Digest: 15 things you need to know from the last 3 months

Cross-post from Digital Qatar (published last month). New issue coming soon!

You can also see a cut-down version (featuring 10 stories) on LinkedIn.

New Year. New start. Our latest quarterly round-up of regional and global tech developments is back with a whole new look and feel. You can see the full presentation below, or read on for some of the key stories. (And do let us know what you think of the new look, by emailing us or send us a Tweet @ictqatar)

Social Media

1.  Facebook has published data related to the Middle East and North Africa region for the first time. This shows that 28 million log on daily; with over 50% (15 million) of daily users doing so  via a mobile device. Over the course of a month, 33 million access their accounts each month via a phone or tablet.

2.  MENA is home to the most active country in the world on Twitter. Can you guess who it is? Saudi Arabia. Interestingly, all of the Top 5 countries – in terms of user penetration – are non-English speaking. Mashable has a nice chart showing who the other countries are, and where the leading English language countries sit in this list.

3.  Business orientated social network LinkedIn has published some key data about its users in MENA. This reveals that 2 in 5 LinkedIn members in MENA hold Manager positions or above. And continuing the mobile access theme we saw with Facebook, 36% access the site via mobile. This infographic from digs deeper.


4.  Two GCC countries, Qatar & Bahrain, are in the Top 12 countries in the world for the highest percentage of individuals using the Internet, according to the Broadband Commission. In the Top 10, only two countries are outside of Europe. Qatar is one. The other? You might be surprised that to know that it’s New Zealand.

5.  Ericsson reported that there are now 354 million mobile subscriptions in MENA.  6 million were new subscriptions in Q3 2013, with 4 million of these in Egypt.

6.  Which mobile phone manufacturer dominates the Middle East? Nokia makes up 45.2% of all phones in MENA.

7.  In MENA two phones in five are smartphones. Smartphone volumes are up 16.4% in Q2 2013 compared to Q2 2012 reports the research firm IDC.


8.  The fabulously named Netbiscuits note the UAE is home to some of the heaviest mobile web users in the world.  37% are on the mobile web for 6+ hours a day.

9.  The Arab World’s first Assistive Technology Portal was launched by Mada. It offers tools and solutions for people with disabilities; with content in Arabic and English.

Digital Content

10.  New stats note that Arabic is now the 8th most used language on the web.

11.  Music, games and video are the most downloaded types of Arabic content.

12.  Digital advertising in MENA is expected to grow +37% a year. Currently a $300 million p.a. business, online it is expected to be worth $1 billion p.a. in MENA by 2017.

13.  Massive open online courses (MOOC) are seen by some as a game changer for education. Edraak is the first such Arabic platform for the Middle East. It part of edX, a virtual education platform founded by Harvard and MIT.

14.  Nearly a third (30%) of Egyptian adults play online games, with over one in five households (21.9%) owning gaming consoles.

15.  With 300m daily views, YouTube plans to add new local domains for Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman.

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