Dubai: The number of Internet users in the Arab world is expected to reach 197 million by 2017 with the web users increasing by 20 per cent a year and patent grants rocketing by almost 50 per cent, according to a report.
The Arab Knowledge Economy Report 2014, which is a joint study done by Madar Research & Development and Orient Planet, focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of the region`s economy along with the opportunities and risks associated with it, the Khaleej Times reported.
Huge growth awaits the Arab world`s knowledge economy, with Internet users increasing by 20 per cent a year and patent grants rocketing by almost 50 per cent, the report said.
The Arab region`s Internet penetration will grow from 32 per cent in 2012 to 51 per cent in 2017, the report said. For the UAE, the expected rise is from 55 per cent to 67 per cent.
There will be 197 million Internet users in the Arab world in 2017, and 40 million in the Gulf, the report said.
From its baseline of 2011, Internet users will have more than doubled.
The study was conducted with an aim to research and examine the components and characteristics of the Arab Knowledge Economy and its contribution towards the overall development of the region`s financial state.
"The time has come for the region to resume its role as a champion of research and innovation," said Abdul Kader Al Kamli, CEO of Madar Research & Development.
"Some of today`s developing countries will be tomorrow`s vibrant economies in the global market, which makes investment in innovation and education critical for transformation to a knowledge-based economy," said Kamli.
"The shift is highly significant in the Arab World, as it will enable a landscape of technological innovation, promote competitiveness, and empower local population with professional skills," Kamli said.
He said that the GCC countries have launched their e-Governance programmes, while Dubai, on the other hand, have entered into the next phase with the recent launch of Dubai Smart Governance.
Nidal Abou Zaki, Managing Director, Orient Planet, said that the most of the Arab countries have made significant progress in establishing a knowledge-based economy and society.