Internet use is growing and users are spending more time surfing the web in the Middle East and Africa (MENA) region. This is evident from research reports that forecast 60 percent of the region’s population will be online by 2020, accounting for 260 million users.
Currently, there are 65 million users accounting for 19 percent in the region. Complementing the Internet penetration is the significant growth in mobile phones from 200,000 cell phones in 1991 to a forecasted 340 million users in 2020.
The rapid growth of technology has also been instrumental in the growth of social media platforms across the region. Facebook is a prime example with currently 18 million registered users from the MENA region. The recent political unrest and banning of social networks is a live and vivid example of the power of communications through social networks. People are using social media to better connect, interact and communicate across borders, and more so in Arabic.
The Arab Media Outlook 2009 – 13 report states that there is a clear demand for locally generated Arabic content from the Arabic speaking populations of the world. The ever-increasing Internet penetration and use of social platforms, analysts believe, will also be a key medium of growth for Arabic content.