Mobile services are considered a key element in upward mobility by young adults in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), research by Qatar-headquartered operator Ooredoo shows.
An online survey of 3,488 people aged 18 years to 30 years in 17 MENA countries found that 90 per cent consider access to mobile technology and the Internet important to help them realise personal aspirations for employment, education, banking, entrepreneurial opportunities, and healthcare.
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al Thani, chairman of Ooredoo, said young adults in the MENA region "have embraced information and communications technology (ICT) as a pillar of modern society," and are using ICT to "overcome practical restrictions which may constrain their education or economic potential.
Ooredoo's study found smartphones are used more than non-web enabled mobile phones, but that the high price of smart devices means the majority of users (90 per cent) share devices. Al Thani said mobile services today contribute "around 6 per cent annually to MENA's regional economy", and that the region is "the second fastest growing telecoms market globally".
In terms of Internet usage, nearly 25 per cent of young MENA adults use it for entertainment or gaming, followed by communication (18 per cent), education (16 per cent), work activities (15 per cent), and seeking employment opportunities (12 per cent).
The investigation also revealed high levels of optimism among young adults in the region, despite political and economic challenges in recent years. Some 89 per cent of those quizzed said they believe technology opens up channels to promote peace and understanding, and 91 per cent that technology forms the basis of a modern, forward-thinking, society.
However, the study also highlights infrastructure problems in some of the 17 countries covered, including a lack of dependable electricity supplies. Finances are also an issue in some of the countries, with 20 per cent of respondents stating their households do not have enough money to cover basic needs.
ICT can also be used to even out gender imbalances in the MENA region, by empowering women in ways that were previously not possible, Ooredoo commented. The majority of men surveyed agreed that women should be given equal business opportunities.
- see this Ooredoo release
Telenor, Ooredoo finally sign Myanmar licences
Kuwait sits sixth in global LTE rankings
Orange's Myanmar hopes fade as Telenor, Ooredoo unveil pricing