Exploring the Emerging Tech Trends in the Middle East


There’s one part of the world where new tech is emerging quicker than ever before: the Middle East. 

Home to 547 million people, our region is proving technology can power a bright future as governments, businesses and individuals adopt AI, machine learning, blockchain and other innovations at scale. 

One reason new tech adoption is happening so quickly here is our demographics: the Middle East is home to a young, dynamic population looking to further improve their productivity and quality of life. 

With a high level of education and a thirst for innovation, the region is well-positioned to take advantage of the new wave of tech advancements. 

Here’s what the future holds for emerging technology in the Middle East.

Investments are flowing into physical and digital infrastructure  

Respondents to the PwC Middle East Capital & Infrastructure Projects survey, are planning or making investments in three particular areas of digital transformation: big data (41%), digital twins (17%) and drones (33%). 

91% of respondents cited measurable improvements from these investments including reduced human error (62%), improved employee experience (59%) and enhanced project delivery insights (59%) when implementing new technology solutions. 

Also key to innovation, though, is physical infrastructure. It ensures growing populations have the space, connectivity and economic opportunity to improve their livelihoods - leading to faster developments in areas including payments, digital banking and ecommerce.

On that measure, the Middle East is also one of the fastest developing regions in the world, with major national and international initiatives such as the Saudi Vision 2030 - which includes $1.1 trillion of new real estate and infrastructure prioritizing healthcare, education and wellbeing - and 27 ‘megaprojects’ currently under construction in the United Arab Emirates. 

Governments in the Middle East have been at the forefront of the drive towards emerging technologies. They have implemented policies aimed to create an environment that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship. 

This has included initiatives such as tax breaks for startups, streamlined business registration processes, and access to funding and mentorship programs. 

The Saudi Arabia ICT Strategy 2023 outlines the creation of more than 25,000 jobs in the sector, increasing the size of the IT market and emerging technologies by 50 percent, and raising the sector’s contribution to GDP by $13.3 billion.  

It also aims to attract foreign investments and to support the participation of women in this sector. 

Large enterprises have also played a crucial role in driving tech adoption in the region. With numerous investments in innovation centers such as SBM’s Techxagon Digital Transformation, Research & Development Hub, the private sector has been instrumental in providing the resources entrepreneurs need to develop and scale technology businesses.

SBM’s Techaxgon, in fact, houses some of the most advanced emerging technologies in the entire MENA region - from AI to virtual and augmented reality, robotics to blockchain.

Techxagon’s technologies will transform sectors as wide-ranging as healthcare, finance, manufacturing and transportation, enabling new business models, creating new opportunities for innovation, and driving economic growth. 

Generative AI and Machine Learning are gathering pace 

Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are two of the most exciting and rapidly developing technologies in the world today. These technologies, with large language models (LLMs) like GPT-4 are already creating more productive, efficient economies, and the Middle East is no exception.

Another area where AI and ML are set to have a major impact in the Middle East is in the development of smart cities. 

With the implementation of smart technologies such as sensors and automated systems, cities in the region are expected to improve the management of resources, traffic, and emergency response. These innovations will create more efficient, sustainable, and livable urban areas.

For example, smart traffic management systems in Dubai are already using real-time data to optimize traffic flow, reducing congestion and improving air quality. Smart energy management systems can help to reduce energy consumption and lower carbon emissions. And smart emergency response systems can help to improve public safety by enabling faster and more effective responses to emergencies.

AI in Education and Workforce Training

AI and ML are also transforming education and workforce training in the Middle East. A 2023 McKinsey report, which focused on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), found that while 45% of jobs in the Middle East (48% in Egypt, and 41% in Saudi Arabia) are at risk of automation, MENA countries are ‘highly adaptable’, 

With AI and ML technologies, students can develop new skills and strengths at their own pace, in a way that is tailored to their learning style and preferences. 

Digital, interactive education with an AI teacher can also identify skills gaps and areas that require further improvement, providing targeted support and training to learners and helping to overcome the societal challenges of automation.


As the Middle East continues to adopt emerging technologies, the region is set to become one of the most innovative and technologically advanced regions in the world. 

The opportunities are vast, from improving healthcare and education to revolutionizing transport and logistics. Governments and the private sector have a crucial role to play in creating an enabling environment for startups and entrepreneurs in the tech sector. 

By embracing emerging technologies, the Middle East can create a bright future for its citizens and the world at large.