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AI spending in MEA projected to hit US$374.2-million in 2020

AI spending in MEA projected to hit US4.2-million in 2020

Continued investment in projects that utilise the capabilities of Artificial Intelligence software and platforms is expected to drive up spending on AI systems in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) market, with growth expected to reach US$374.2-million in 2020, up from up from US$261.8-million in 2018 and an anticipated US$310.3-million in 2019.

This is according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Artificial Intelligence Systems Spending Guide, which states that spending in the region will increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19% for the 2018-2023 period.

According to the IDC report, spending on AI systems in the region will be led by the banking and retail industries, which, together, will account for over 33% of the spending in 2020, followed by federal/ central governments and telecommunication industry.

Investments in AI systems across MEA will continue to be driven by a wide range of use cases. The three largest use cases - automated customer service agents, IT automation, and automated threat intelligence and prevention systems - will account for around 30% of total AI spending in 2020, the IDC stated.

Manish Ranjan, IDC's program manager for software and cloud in the Middle East, Africa, and Turkey, said: "The AI software applications and AI platforms markets continue to show steady growth in the MEA region, and we expect this momentum to continue over the forecast period. The use of AI and machine learning (ML) is on the rise in a wide variety of business applications from ERP and CRM to analytics, content management, and collaboration solutions. Many global vendors have started embedding AI, ML, and cognitive applications to provide ultimate business benefits to their users."

Ranjan added, "With the growing adoption of various use cases across all industries, organisations are continuing to invest significantly in optimising their business processes, automating their operations and enhancing their products and services offerings in order to maximise the overall customer experience."

Looking at individual countries, IDC's forecast shows South Africa accounting for 20.5% of AI spending in MEA during 2020, followed by the UAE on 19.7%. Saudi Arabia will be the region's third-biggest spender next year with 15.7% share. Turkey will rank fourth, accounting for 11.1% of regional AI spending.

While market analysts predict an upswing in AI spending and adoption, tech experts have identified skills, uncertainty and the quality of data as the main barriers to more widespread adoption.

** The Worldwide Artificial Intelligence Systems Spending Guide sizes spending for technologies that analyse, organise, access, and provide advisory services based on a range of unstructured information. The spending guide quantifies the AI opportunity by providing data for 26 use cases across 19 industries in 9 regions and 32 countries. Data is also available for the related hardware, software, and services categories.

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