ICT's pivotal role in post-COVID-19

ICT's pivotal role in post-COVID-19 "new normal"

August 31, 2020

ICT as a key economic and societal enabler

The COVID-19 pandemic will have a seismic and permanent impact on our lives – work, life and play as we knew it will no longer be the same again. IP traffic has increased significantly and is now stabilizing at 30% higher than pre-COVID times, revealing the permanent nature of this shift. As such, organizations are now focused on optimizing their operating models and digitizing key processes and customer touchpoints, all of which will result in new emerging ICT use cases such as remote healthcare, online education, digitized public services, home automation, AI surveillance, and much more.

Enterprise IT spend for GCC markets is expected to increase from USD 16.5 billion in 2019 to USD 20 billion by 2024, with sectors such as healthcare, education, media, financial services expected to accelerate their IT spend growth by 2-3x over this period.
Moreover, the top five prioritized emerging use cases – e-consultation, e-health monitoring, e-learning, automated mining, and safety and sanitation – are expected to drive a total market opportunity of USD 5 billion in the GCC by 2024.

Telcos are expected to play a key role by driving investment in 5G and fiber connectivity to enable new online businesses, support increased consumer demand and ensure sufficient network redundancy. The accelerated rollout of 5G and expansion of fiber networks is projected to increase telco capital expenditure to 23% of revenue by 2021 up from 18-19% in 2019.

Governments will play an important role in fighting the pandemic and enabling the digital economy to drive future growth. Supporting the ICT industry to accelerate investments in 5G and fiber will lead to wider economic gains via the multiplier effect – investments in 5G are estimated to add 6-8% to countries' GDP combining direct, indirect and induced impacts. To that end, governments will need to support telcos, for example, by providing them with temporary monetary relief, drive operational efficiencies as well as support the SME ecosystem, in order to enable a strong economic recovery and ensure long-term growth.

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ICT's pivotal role in post-COVID-19 "new normal"


The effects of the Corona crisis are reflected in the ICT sector. Acting as an economic driver, it will affect the IT spend growth of various industries such as healthcare, education, media, and financial services enormously.

Published August 2020. Available in
Portrait of Santiago Castillo
Senior Partner, Managing Partner Middle East
Abu Dhabi Office, Middle East
+971 4 364-5300