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Gitex Technology Week ramps up global influence

An estimated 140,000 people from 144 countries expected to attend

Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News
Justin Doo, Security Practice Director for emerging markets Symantec, Dave Brooke, General Manager, Middle East Dell, Helal Saeed Almarri, CEO DWTC, Eyad Shihabi, Managing Director HP Middle East and Trixee Loh, Senior VP DWTC at the GITEX Technology week Press conference.
Gulf News

Dubai: Top leaders from some of the largest information and communication technology companies in the world converge in Dubai on Sunday for a five-day showcase that will encourage almost 140,000 conference attendees from 144 countries to seek innovation and redefine the future.

Now in its 32nd year, Gitex Technology Week is widely regarded as one of the world’s top three international information and communication technology (ICT) events.

”As developed economies experience a slowdown, global organisations and investors are looking to emerging markets such as the MEA for growth,” Helal Saeed Al Marri, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai World Trade Centre, said.

According to research firm IDC, IT spending in the Middle East andf Africa region will surpass $65 billion (Dh238 billion) this year, growing at nearly 12 per cent year on year.

By comparison, Europe will see 1.2 per cent growth in euros this year, shrinking the continent’s share of the market according to a report by Forrester Research.

“Gitex Technology Week has always been a vital force in driving the ICT sector to generate both profit and performance in the industry, not only throughout the Middle East and Africa region but also on a global stage. As the momentum of traditional ICT markets slows down and reaches saturation in developed nations, the Middle East and Africa region offers lucrative opportunities for investors and global companies in a rapidly expanding industry,” Al Marri said.

Al Marri told Gulf News that exhibitions contribute 2 to 2.5 per cent to Dubai’s gross domestic product.

He said the event has been a catalyst and influence in growing technology tourism and strengthening trade ties with Africa as the continent experiences an ICT boom.

Its growing international impact has also led to the “strategic co-location of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom World 2012, the leading platform for high-level networking, strategic debate and knowledge-sharing for the global ICT community, which will take place for the first time in Dubai alongside Gitex Technology Week,” Al Marri added.

“The total leased space to the exhibitors stands same as last year at 76,000 square metres despite adding new sectors this year. We are utilising the space to the maximum,” said Trixee Loh, senior vice-president of exhibitions and events management at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

This year more than 625 new exhibitors are taking part from 54 countries. 50 companies are taking part in the International Zone alone and 14 African states are taking part in the Africa Zone.

Africa in Focus is one of the most prominent new highlights at this year’s Gitex, serving to amplify the importance of the continent’s burgeoning economic potential. Gitex has seen a 23 per cent increase in exhibitors from African countries.