Distribution of IT resources in rural and urban areas vastly uneven in Middle East
The Middle East’s access to information and knowledge is very much concentrated in urban areas of the region, leaving the highly populated and poor rural areas deprived of reliable communications.
A recent study by IDC commissioned by Inmarsat showed that, although much of the Arab region's Internet access markets are poised for rapid growth over the next several years, the expected growth is biased towards the more developed markets of the Gulf States and the urban-based population in other countries.
Access to physical and social infrastructure tends to be biased towards urban areas in the Middle East countries, perhaps contributing further to the high incidence of poverty and illiteracy in the rural communities of the region. The study finds that while urban telephony penetration was 14 percent in 2002, access to the same services in rural Arabia was only 2.3 percent. The study also identifies links between the Middle East and North African literacy rates and their respective levels of urban versus rural access to telephony, mobile and Internet services.
The IDC study finds that some of the reasons behind the lower Internet penetration among rural communities are attributed to the lack of appropriate telecommunications infrastructure in most rural communities on the one hand, and that private sector service providers do not consider the market to be economically viable due to low income and high illiteracy. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)