What’s Next in Tech in the Middle East and Africa?

What’s Next in Tech in the Middle East and Africa?

The spread and influence of technology will be a key driver of change across the globe over the next five years. However, there will be regional differences, and some countries will leapfrog traditional cycles of development.

In this report, we discuss these regional factors and consider how technology changes will affect consumers, retailers and consumer-facing brands.

We’ve identified 14 technology shifts that will be in play over the next five years. The top four rankings globally include:

  • The spread of existing technology and infrastructure

  • Machine learning and decision making

  • Big data and artificial intelligence

  • Cashless payment technology

We also ranked the likelihood of future scenarios and outcomes that the convergence of technologies could bring to consumers, retailers and suppliers. The top ranked outcomes globally were:

  • Consumers: technology for convenience; and consumers willing to accept suggestions from devices will likely see a rise in programmatic consumption – tied in first place in the consumer field.

  • Retailers: Instant payment – as baskets are captured and paid for as consumers walk out of the store.

  • Consumer-facing brands: Using technology for brand building and public relations purposes.

Technology adoption and impact will not be homogenous, and there are a number of regional differences that are explained by our experts in terms of consumer, economic, political and other considerations. These factors provide insights to which technologies in which markets may be important to focus on during the next five years.


In the Middle East, investment in technology innovation is in pockets, and is focused on global leadership rather than just regional consumers. However, consumers are also adopting a more modern, convenient lifestyle; technology is a key enabler as well as having a role to play in societal change.

“The technology solutions that enable brands and retailers to meet both shopper needs as well as deliver operational benefits will be the game changers,” noted Sue Temple, Head of Shopper Practice, Nielsen Growth and Emerging Markets.

Cities utilizing technologies such as internet of things (IOT) can generate data to find optimal solutions for pollution control or address traffic congestions. For households, these technologies will enable myriad of benefits, from cost control achieved through home system efficiencies (such as automatic switching on and off of cooling systems), to general home management with staple foods re-stock systems, etc.


Despite having to build up from a traditional low base of infrastructure, technology and consumer spending, Sub Saharan Africa is expected to showcase significant acceleration and offer enormous opportunities for organisations across all consumer industries in the future.

According to Ailsa Wingfield, Thought Leadership, Nielsen Emerging Markets, “In the consumer packaged goods sector, suppliers will be the first adopters of game-changing tech, followed by retailers, followed by consumers.”

Africans are keen for cashless payment technology to alleviate traditional challenges with currency fluctuation, fraud, and limits to business and personal needs. However, the extent of mainstream adoption will be limited until infrastructure and consumer spending power improves.

Read the full report for the extended commentary capturing insights into the barriers and opportunities by region, and trends that are shaping the way businesses in the Middle East and Sub Saharan Africa will operate in the future.


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What’s Next in Tech in the Middle East and Africa?

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