Bahrain among region’s best in ICT affordability

Bahrain is among the best regionally in giving the community affordable access to information and communications technology (ICT) services, shows new analysis.

As per a report by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialised agency and standard-setter for ICT, this is based on Bahrain meeting the UN affordability target of two per cent gross national income (GNI) per capita across all ICT packages measured.

The GNI per capita is the dollar value of a country’s final income in a year, divided by its population.

The report also scores Bahrain as the best in data value per gigabyte (GB) within the GCC, and second in the Gulf (eighth in the world) for affordability of basic mobile cellular packages.

Quoting the national Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), the GDN reported last month that Bahrain has been elevated to the highest level in ICT regulation by the ITU.

For fostering affordability in ICT services, the kingdom’s regulatory environment has moved from the third to the fourth generation.

In addition, Bahrain’s mobile broadband prices account for 1.51pc of GNI per capita, whereas fixed broadband prices account for 1.82pc of GNI per capita, which is below the UN affordability target, thereby allowing Bahrain to meet and outperform the Sustainable Development Goal target before 2025, holding prices below 2pc of GNI per capita.

Amongst Arab countries, Bahrain is ranked second, maintaining affordable fixed broadband rates yet a large-scale data capacity.

The annual price trends report, recently released, measures the level of digital transformation throughout the world, and highlights the value and quality of ICT services provided by local operators.

According to the World Bank Doing Business 2019 report, Bahrain is ranked second in Mena in terms of ease of doing business.

IT spending in Bahrain is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.6pc from $1.4bn in 2019 to $2.1bn in 2024, driven by liberal business policy and advanced infrastructure, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Energy and financial services will be the sectors witnessing the fastest growth during the period, followed by manufacturing and construction.

Shamim Khan, senior technology analyst at GlobalData, said: “The local start-up structure on fintech coupled with significant attention by Bahrain on the manufacturing and BFSI verticals will help drive growth.”

Also, cloud traffic is growing faster in Mena than anywhere else in the world at 41pc year-on-year.

As the first Gulf country to adopt a nation-wide ‘cloud-first’ policy, Bahrain is ideally placed to take advantage of the ICT opportunities this trend is creating in areas such as business services outsourcing, cybersecurity, digital entertainment, gaming and e-commerce, states the Economic Development Board, the country’s investment promotion agency.




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