MEA with world’s highest IP traffic growth – Cisco

MEA with world’s highest IP traffic growth – Cisco

Further to The responsibility for a sustainable digital future  after the World Wide Web turned 30, CommsMEA elaborated on the latest Cisco report in this article dated March 12, 2019.

Middle East and Africa poised for world’s highest IP traffic growth – Cisco report

12 March 2019

The Middle East and Africa is poised for major IP traffic growth, according to Cisco.

Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast predicts 4.8 billion Internet users to be connected globally by 2022 – out of which 549 million will be living in the Middle East and Africa.

At its “Cisco Connect: Say Hello to the Future” event on March 12, held at the Atlantis The Palm resort at the end of Dubai’s iconic Palm Jumeirah, Cisco celebrated 30 years of the World Wide Web by sharing insights from the VNI Forecast to predict trends and behaviours evolving in the digital landscape in the region and globally.

Cisco’s VNI Forecast predicts four key drivers of IP traffic growth in the MEA region by 2022:

1. A 9% increase in the number of Internet users

The number of people using the Internet will grow from 23% of the region’s population in 2017 to 32%.

Digitisation features high on the national agendas of most of the region’s countries. Cisco estimates that the MEA region will have approximately 549 million Internet users and account for the highest growth rate in IP traffic worldwide, with a 41% increase from 2017.

2. An increasing number of connections

Cisco predicts there will be approximately 2.5 billion devices connected to the network, equating to 1.4 networked devices per capita in MEA.

Non-PC devices will drive 91% of regional Internet traffic by 2022. With projected average mobile network connection speeds to grow by as much as 28%, smartphones in particular are expected to make up 79% of Internet traffic in MEA, with 1.2 trillion connected smartphones by 2022. Cisco anticipates the enhanced connectivity to create new possibilities for AI and machine learning across industries and in smart homes.

3. Faster broadband speeds

As broadband connection speed is a key enabler for IP traffic growth, Cisco predicts the speeds will increase more than two-fold, from 2017 to 2022.

Accordingly, it is expected that broadband speeds in MEA will increase from 7.8Mbps in 2017 to 20.2Mbps by 2022 – enabling businesses and individuals to operate with greater speed and efficiency. As this speed continues to increase, large downloads will go from taking hours to a matter of minutes and eventually, seconds.

4. More media-rich content and applications

In terms of rich media, data-heavy files and videos are anticipated to make up 81% of the MEA region’s IP traffic by 2022, up from 65% in 2017.

The predicted 16% increase in media-rich Internet traffic can be partially attributed to the rapid growth of OOT film, television and music streaming services in MEA. As online gaming also continues to grow in popularity, Cisco predicts that the region will experience a five-fold increase in Internet gaming traffic from 2017, making up 1 percent of total IP traffic in MEA by 2022.

Commenting on Cisco’s VNI Forecast and the changes predicted to affect MEA, Cisco Middle East and Africa vice president David Meads said: “It is undeniable that the Internet is growing at an exponential rate. As governments continue to invest in infrastructure, a faster and stronger Internet opens the doors to unprecedented opportunities for individuals and industry alike.”

He said more. “Digitisation is a critical force for economic growth, so businesses must adopt a mindset that is proactive, rather than reactive. DDoS attacks can represent up to 25% of a country’s total Internet traffic while they are occurring. By implementing the appropriate cyberdefence mechanisms, organizations can protect themselves throughout the full attack continuum – before, during and after an attack.”

Meads also added: “With nations such as the UAE championing innovation, the Internet has, and continues to change our lives in an infinite number of ways. Recognising the changes that are affecting MEA, government, policymakers and service providers must continue to unite in their efforts to create an accessible Internet that is available to the masses, underpinned by a secure framework to aid sustainable growth.”

Cloud Computing Empowering MENA Youth

Cloud Computing Empowering MENA Youth

According to many studies as well as being consistently reported by the mainstream media of the MENA countries, Start-ups in the region do encounter a host of often debilitating obstacles, particularly in the field of advanced technology acquisition.  The authors of these studies note that in other regions, techno entrepreneurs do not generally and / or unlike their MENA counterparts, have that many difficulties in acquiring equipment. Meanwhile, Cloud Computing empowering MENA youth seems to be energising more and more of them to reach for the skies.

This World Bank blog post by Safaa El-Kogali dated August 22nd, 2018 explains how empowering the MENA’s youth through mainly their Smartphone is making some difference.  She says:

Can you believe this one device has already replaced 50 devices? Clock, camera, GPS, radio, flashlight, credit card, and USB drive are just a few to name. Data collected from all these 50 “devices” inside your smartphone are not stored on a hard drive or a flash drive but rather on a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet that also manage and process data. This evolution, known as cloud computing, holds transformational value for the future.

Could this easy reach to the “Cloud” bring in the future with less fear and anxiety and above all less difficulty?


Empowering MENA Youth through “the Cloud”

When I was your age “checking your mail” meant walking to the post office and collecting letters, “tweet” meant the chirping of a bird, and “cloud” meant rain! Today, we live in a very different world.

Technology is not only changing the demands of the future workforce but also how we prepare today’s students for it; it influences the means but also the ends for education. Technology’s role in the future of work is certain, but how it will be used is yet to be explored and exploited. Now we have a unique opportunity to use technology help deliver better quality education in a more efficient and effective manner. And cloud computing is at the centre of this digital opportunity.

Look at your smart phone. Can you believe this one device has already replaced 50 devices? Clock, camera, GPS, radio, flashlight, credit card, and USB drive are just a few to name. Data collected from all these 50 “devices” inside your smart phone are not stored on a hard drive or a flash drive but rather on a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet that also manage and process data. This evolution, known as cloud computing, holds transformational value for the future.

Cloud computing is changing the way we look at our future because it has the potential to connect billions more people to digital networks. It can dramatically change the way we learn and the way we work. The time is now for us to understand and proactively manage the transition of education services and the future of jobs to the cloud. The opportunities presented by the cloud are particularly relevant to MENA where the challenge of out-of-school children in fragile and conflict areas cannot be addressed by traditional brick and mortar infrastructure. As the future of education and work undergoes a digital transformation, it is critical that we make sure our young people are ready to be a part of this transformation.

It is with this goal in mind that the World Bank recently signed a new US$500 million investment project with the government of Egypt to support their efforts to transform the way education is delivered.  The project, which will be implemented by the Ministry of Education and Technical Education, has an ambitious goal to use technology to improve teaching and learning conditions in Egypt’s public education system. It is one of the first projects in the region that is actually moving Egypt’s entire student assessment system to the cloud!

To complement this project, we at the World Bank are pleased to partner with the Ministry of Education and Technical Education in Egypt and Amazon Web Services (AWS) in launching the “Skills for the Future Initiative” (SFI). SFI aims to equip young people in MENA with skills that are critical for the future of work. SFI Cairo brought together 200 young Egyptians enrolled in TVET training programs and 70 teachers in a 2-day event to learn about the essentials of cloud computing. The training was delivered by the AWS Educate team in Arabic. SFI interventions focus on the intersection of skills, technology and youth.

Moving forward, we will be planning additional SFI events in the form of short-term training boot camps to equip young people with technology and 21st century skills. These will include cloud computing skills, soft skills, and other skills that are high in demand in the region. We also plan to target refugee populations for whom SFI skills can be truly transformational.

The youth of MENA are hungry for change, and we need to make sure this change is positive, transformational, and aligned with the future!


Role and Impact of the Social Media Today

Role and Impact of the Social Media Today

In the MENA countries, the role and impact of the Social Media today have no need to be demonstrated; the so-called Arab Spring events have taken care of that. What followed, however, have sadly been outside its grips, all as reported in the regional media.

Per AP Cairo, Egypt’s parliament has passed a bill targeting popular social media accounts that authorities accuse of publishing “fake news,” the latest move in a five-year-old drive to suppress dissent and silence independent sources of news.

The legislation was adopted late on Monday by the staunchly pro-government chamber, though details of the new bill only emerged on today.

Shahla Ghobadi, PhD


Shahla Ghobadi, University of Manchester wrote this article on how “Inspiring stories of social activism, such as the Civil Rights movement and the fight against climate change, abound in history. And it is generally thought that the new social media era has helped cases of activism to succeed. But our research has revealed some major threats, which activists need to understand if they are to be successful in getting their message across to the masses.” Here is Shahla Ghobadi’s article.


Going viral: what social media activists need to know

File 20180712 27039 rcq2a.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Sign displaying the #metoo and #timesup message at the Women’s March in San Francisco in January, 2018.

Shahla Ghobadi, University of Manchester

Inspiring stories of social activism, such as the Civil Rights movement and the fight against climate change, abound in history. And it is generally thought that the new social media era has helped cases of activism to succeed. But our research has revealed some major threats, which activists need to understand if they are to be successful in getting their message across to the masses.

Social activism refers to a broad range of activities which are beneficial to society or particular interest groups. Social activists operate in groups to voice, educate and agitate for change, targeting global crises.

Take, for example, environmental groups such as Greenpeace which aim to curb climate change by targeting governments and major manufacturers with poor environmental records. Or the anti-sweatshop movement, which started with a group of activists in the 19th century organising boycotts aimed at improving the conditions of workers in manufacturing places with low wages, poor working conditions and child labour.

Online social activism

These days the voices of dissent have increasingly been carried via the evolving medium of the internet. From #Metoo, #TimesUp and #WeStrike to #NeverAgain and #BlackLivesMatter, social activists wield the power of the internet to pressure powerful organisations.

The group, for example, is made up of climate change activists. The group uses online campaigns and grassroots organising to oppose new coal, oil and gas projects. Its aim is to get society moving closer to clean energy solutions that work for all.

Online activism allows activists to organise events with high levels of engagement, focus and network strength. On the one hand, researchers suggest that the anonymity offered by online communication provides the possibility of expressing the views of marginalised minority groups that might otherwise be punished or sanctioned. Online activities reinforce collective identity by reducing attention to differences that exist within the group (such as education, social class, and ethnicity).

The online threats

But other research argues that while this modern form of activism may increase participation in online activities, it might merely create the impression of activism. Or it may even have negative consequences, such as creating social stereotypes including those about feminists and environmentalists or getting social activists arrested as is the case in authoritarian countries.

The aim of our research was to develop insights that would obtain better outcomes from online activism, targeting some of society’s most important issues. During our study, we collected data from three YouTube cases of online activism. Our findings suggest that online activism delivers a temporary shock to the organisational elites, help organise collective actions and amplify the conditions for movements to form.

The elites fight back

But these initial outcomes provoke the elites into action, resulting in counter measures – such as increased surveillance to track activists. For example, some governmental authorities intensified internet filtering, blocked access to several websites and decreased the speed of the internet connection to slow down social activism. These measures prompted self-censorship among activists and a loss of interest among the public in relation to the cause and contributed to the ultimate decline of social activism over time.

Our study challenged the optimistic hype around online activism in enabling grassroots social movements by suggesting there is a complex relationship between activists and those groups they are targeting, which makes the outcomes very difficult to predict. As different parties with different interests intervene, they either encourage or inhibit activism.

While encouraging actions can take the form of support (such as the thousands of women around the world who posted on social media sharing their stories under #metoo), inhibiting actions may come in the form of information asymmetry (strategies such as filtering and surveillance) from elites.

Inhibiting strategies are not limited to authoritarian organisations. Senior managers may also monitor email correspondence of staff, set up structures and hierarchies for access to organisational information, and use information provided by secretive companies to check the status of their employees (for example, blacklisting workers perceived as trouble-makers).

Less emotion and more strategic patience

Online activists should understand that the dynamics of reaching collective action might not necessarily be the result of critical thinking, lifelong learning or other dimensions of civic engagement. Journalist Nicholas Kristoff has talked about how the anti-sweatshop movement “risks harming the impoverished workers it is hoping to help” by causing mass job redundancies. Similarly, our main message is that online activism could prompt reactions that will result in unintended and long lasting consequences for the activists involved.

A common and frequently used approach that risks these types of consequences is to share emotive information through social media. While this is used to inform and capture people’s attention and mobilise as many people as possible, our study suggests that more thought should be put into the consequences of information sharing and what information is most appropriate to be shared.

Activists may need to spend more time and energy to create and share information that is less emotive and help people learn about the underlying causes of problem. For example, the activism videos we have researched and commonly see on the internet are essentially reactive and emotive.

The ConversationInstead of focusing on the problem and the need for change, activists can share information that explains why and how the current situation has been created and what can be learned for the future. Online activism in such manner can gradually lead to the development of people who are capable of generating new knowledge and wisdom to respond to changing social environments. However, that requires strategic patience and that is often a scarce resource among activists desperate for change.

Shahla Ghobadi, Assistant Professor, Software, Design, Social Activism, University of Manchester

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

The Conversation

Informal Economy in the North African countries

Informal Economy in the North African countries

Shadow economy or as labelled Informal Economy in the North African countries of the MENA region commands, according to the local media, some 30 to 50% of their respective economies.  It has historically been taken for a long time as the main cause responsible for economic backwardness of the under-developed countries of the world. These countries’ government in a bid to reduce its importance, were at pains trying to draw sizable segments out of the informal sphere of their economies and insert them into economies that are very often stiffened by red tape and / or lacking capital fluidity.
Meanwhile, advances in technology and its increasing coverage would possibly be working the other way around, meaning towards informalizing further all economies by facilitating amongst many things the easy transfer and exchange of money, etc.
This article of the WEF by Charlotte Edmond, Formative Content is explicit about this phenomenon as witnessed in certain countries.  This however would obviously apply all over the world but at varying degrees.

This developed country’s shadow economy is worth one-fifth of its GDP

Three southern European countries dominate a list of selected industrialized countries with shadow economies.

Some countries have much larger shadow or unofficial economies than others. Greece’s shadow economy is worth over a fifth of its total output, and Italy’s isn’t far behind.

This chart, based on research by Germany’s Institute for Applied Economic Research (IAW) at the University of Tübingen, shows southern European countries dominating the top of a list of selected industrialized countries with shadow economies.

Image: Forbes

What is the shadow economy?

It is the total value of transactions by businesses and individuals that occurs “off the books”. In other words, work done for cash to avoid incurring tax and without following standard business practices.

This could be anything from paying a tradesman or a babysitter in undeclared cash to the illegal wildlife trade, counterfeiting and money laundering.

Untaxed and unrecorded economic activity boomed during the global financial crisis and continues to grow today.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Illicit Trade 2012-2014 estimated the global shadow economy to be worth $650 billion. While it’s difficult to be sure of the amount of business that bypasses regulators, WEF research from 2015 forecast that the cost to the global economy of counterfeiting alone could reach $1.77 trillion over the course of that year.

A large shadow economy is a cause for concern for governments that miss out on tax revenues. However, it has also been argued that attempting to curb the shadow economy can limit economic growth and hamper innovation.

Have you read?


Start-ups revolution in the MENA region?

Start-ups revolution in the MENA region?

All economic activities are enterprise based and these are like any living body in need of renewal and maintenance, in other words, they go through a lifecycle like anybody else.  This begins, to carry on the same analogy, with birth.  According to the Cambridge Dictionary  it means a small business that has just been started. Wikipedia elaborating little more to define a startup company (startup or start-up) as being an entrepreneurial venture which is typically a newly emerged, fast-growing business that aims to meet a marketplace need by developing or offering an innovative product, process or service. A startup is usually a company such as a small business, a partnership or an organization designed to rapidly develop a scalable business model. Are we witnessing a Start-ups revolution in the MENA region? The answer would depend on the location of where the birth occurs.

In the MENA generally, there is a relatively good understanding of the vital importance of the Start-up as it were business of encouraging its eclosion and nurture.  The reality of the terrain though does make some difference between those with the required cash and those have-nots.  Stability and domestic market buoyancy do weight in and most times take over the relevance of the cash requirement.

The Middle East’s start-up scene – explained in five charts: an interesting article written John McKenna, Formative Content published on May 17, 2017 by the World Economic Forum on the situation of the Start-ups in the MENA as illustrated by colourful charts would be advisable to ponder on.  The author concludes his essay with a laconic Middle Eastern cities have a long way to go before they can compete with leading global start-up hubs.

Meantime, the local press mainly online also looking at the matter whether it be the long awaited respective governments’ programme of diversification of the economies leitmotivs or the new thriving dynamism is giving positive results especially now there is almost no hope as far as the petro economies of the GCC, etc. of going back to the $100 barrel heydays.

Here are the most illustrative areas of predilections in which the young start-ups dive in first and these are not surprisingly the Phones, Apps & learning tools: Here are the best tech launches of 2017 as per AMEinfo.  It notably stating that today the world is dominated by technology thoroughly looked at it, brand by brand and arrived at the conclusion that better be with it than without it.

Apart from the obvious hardware, start-ups are also interested by all matters software such as data handling, open and / or shared data from all types of organisations, government, public and private sector alike.  AMEinfo again shines with a beautifully tailored article on this subject.  It is about  Data will add AED10 billion to Dubai economy: Arabnet Digital Summit.


Digital Nomadism impacting all life ?

Digital Nomadism impacting all life ?

Is Digital Nomadism impacting all life ? Thanks to the recent ICT advances, it is becoming noticeable throughout the world for those successive waves of ‘intellectuals and nonintellectuals’ alike are found to be not required physically in any place of work; work which can be discharged as it were remotely.  This new trend however could only affect those parts of the world because of the current obvious digital split (or divide) between the haves and the havenots.  It is a world issue because of the differing amount of information that is made available to different parts of the world.  World issue since different information could affect different peoples differently.

Nomadism, way and style of life is only too familiar throughout certain regions of the MENA where like any other part of the world there are disparities between say, the GCC countries and other parts of for example of North Africa’s.

Here is an extensive coverage the Digital Nomad and how it is impacting the life of the haves in the world.

The Technology and Digital Divide facts are per Changing the Present 
  • Less than 10% of discarded computers are currently recycled.
  • 80 percent of the world has mobile phone coverage, but only 25 percent of people are taking advantage of it.
  • 57% of Americans over the age of 25 use a computer at work.
  • 20 million personal computers are retired each year; most are disassembled, melted down, or buried in a landfill.
  • Africa has just three computers for every 1000 people.
  • Each day, over 163,000 computers and televisions become obsolete.
  • 4 in 1,000 people in Asia have a personal computer.
  • The entire continent of Africa has 14 million phone lines, fewer than those in Manhattan.
  • 1 in 2 Americans in online; 1 in 250 Africans has internet access.
  • The United States and Canada have more internet users than Asia, Africa, and Latin America combined.


The Digital Nomad’s Guide To Working From Anywhere On Earth


The work-anywhere, travel-the-world fringe lifestyle is going mainstream–and these apps, services, and events are here to help.


[Photo: Unsplasher user David Marcu]

BY MIKE ELGAN  02.27.17

Twenty years ago, a Hitachi executive named Tsugio Makimoto predicted a revolution.

In the future, he wrote, high-speed wireless networks and low-cost mobile devices will break the link between occupation and location. Thanks to Moore and his Law, millions would indulge an innate wanderlust by selling their homes and living abroad, doing their jobs over the internet and enjoying the benefits of first-world income and developing-world cost of living. No more rat-race grind of cubicle and commute.

Makimoto’s vision appeared in his 1997 book Digital Nomad, written with coauthor David Manners. The book was virtually ignored by the public.

Ten years later, the digital nomad idea resurfaced in Tim Ferriss’s 2007 best-selling book The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. In that hodgepodge of life hacks and business schemes, Ferriss painted a seductive picture of automated income and unbridled globetrotting.

Neither Makimoto nor Ferriss predicted the rise and impact of social networking, smartphone apps, the sharing economy, and on-demand services. Popular apps and services like AirBnb, Whatsapp, Yelp, Lyft, Duolingo, Earth Class Mail, and Google services like Maps, Fi, and Translate, though targeted at the public in general, simplify the digital nomad lifestyle in particular.


The authors also couldn’t have predicted the rise of the digital nomad industrial complex, an entire industry created by and for digital nomads. Whether you’re a digital nomad, aspire to be one, or if you simply travel on business or vacation from time to time, you can benefit from this burgeoning industry.

A digital nomad is just another name for a remote worker.

The real impact of Makimoto’s vision isn’t the possibility of a strange untethered lifestyle for the few. It’s that technology may eventually turn us all into digital nomads. After all, a digital nomad is just another name for a remote worker.

Gallup poll published this month called “State of the American Workplace” found that 43% of employed Americans worked remotely last year at least some of the time. Moreover, both the length of time working remotely and the number of employees doing so full time has been growing every year. (This is up from 39% in 2012.)

Thanks to the new digital nomad economy, it’s easier than ever to work remotely for the rest of your life or for an hour; from a tent on the Masai Mara or from the Starbucks around the corner. With the exception of two years at an American desk, I’ve done it myself since 2006–from Belize, Cuba, El Salvador, France, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Spain, and Turkey.

Author Mike Elgan at work at El Castillo, a Mayan pyramid in Tulum, Mexico.



The remote work trend has given rise to the coworking space–office space you can rent for temporary use in the U.S. and all over the world.

The world’s first coworking space opened in London in 1650: The Oxford coffee house. Loosely modeled on establishments in Vienna, which were themselves influenced by coffee houses in Istanbul and elsewhere in the Muslim world, the Oxford started the British coffee house craze. These coffee houses spread quickly throughout London (along with newly found enthusiasm for the stimulating, exotic, and bitter beverage itself).

More On Digital Nomadism: see on the original text.