Arab Entrepreneurs Are Building a Tech Economy in the Middle East

Middle Eastern startups, like Souq and Careem, fill a need and overcome barriers.

August 3, 2017 10:18 am
Middle East Tech Boom
Dubai is a launching pad for entrepreneurs to build startups that connect with a wired Arab generation across the Middle East. (Getty Images)

Arab tech entrepreneurs are overcoming political, economic, and cultural barriers in the Middle East to meet the demands of a growing market. Access to technology and a growing middle class could mark a turning point for the Arab world.

The technology sector offers women in the Middle East an attractive culture of freedom. In fact, a quarter of Arab startups are either led or founded by women (it’s 17 percent in Silicon Valley).

In March 2017, Amazon acquired Souq, the largest e-commerce company in the region, for about $600 million. The e-commerce giant was impressed with Souq’s management, technology, and ability to navigate a complicated region, MIT Technology Review reports. Instead of competition, Amazon saw the opportunity that came from an acquisition.

According to MIT Technology Review, young Arab entrepreneurs born outside of the UAE use Dubai as a launching pad to pursue opportunities in their home countries. The immigrant entrepreneurs leverage their knowledge of the local markets to connect with a wired generation of Arabs across the region.

Developing markets in South Asia and Africa are particularly fortuitous for Arab entrepreneurs thinking outside the Middle East. The region is strategically positioned to engage in these growing markets as much as more established ones in the West.

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