MENARA Working paper nº. 23
In the MENA region the important technological trends of digitalization and of information and communications technologies (ICT) are very diverse due to different levels of development both between and within countries. Aspects like infrastructure, economic conditions, job market, social media are discussed. Adequate governance for innovation and specifically ICT is severely lacking in most of the MENA countries. Hence, most innovations are instigated by external actors. Nevertheless, nearly all countries in the region are pursuing policies supporting digitalization to further development. But digital options can either be used for transparency, education and empowerment, or for control, censorship and repression. The EU will need to approach the region with greater sensitivity, which may involve co-developing “frugal technologies” that are more fit for the specific technological, societal, climatic, socio-economic and cultural conditions of countries in the MENA region.