Dubai: Information technology (IT) transactions in Dubai crossed Dh7.4 billion last year, growing at 10.1 per cent, a government official said on Thursday.

The UAE's IT sector is the fastest growing in the world, according to industry experts.

"The latest research in the IT and communication sector of the UAE has indicated that the size of the market in 2007 amounted to $2 billion (Dh7.4 billion) with an annual growth rate of 10.1 per cent," said Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy, addressing delegates at the International Electronics Forum on Thursday.

He said the market will grow at the same rate till 2010, when it will reach $2.5 billion (Dh9.2 billion).

Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA), attributed the sector's growth to Dubai's "world-class infrastructure, zero income and corporate tax policy, strong legal framework, robust and effective intellectual property protection system and the free flow of capital, information, and people".

The same attributes also explain the success in attracting foreign direct investments, he said.

DSOA is targeted to bring in investment in the semiconductor sector.

Al Mansouri said the region needs basic technology tools and services but the position of the market in the life-cycle curve is at expansion stage. "The average annual growth rate of the Middle East and North Africa region's IT and communication sector will be 9.9 per cent until 2010," he said.

While the region's growth in the sector is the highest globally, there is a lot more potential since the industry is in the infancy stage, he said.

"The way is paved for innovation and options in comparison to more mature and saturated markets." The average increase in IT expenditure and investment in the Gulf and Middle East ranks at about 8.5 per cent until 2011 compared to a 4.3 per cent of other market.

DSOA has already seen investment of Dh19 billion in assemblies for laptops and manufacturing of liquid crystal display screens (LCD), flat panel displays, and solar panels.