For countries with struggling economies that are eager to grow, let’s take Ireland as an example. Before the Celtic Tiger years of the mid-90s to mid-2000s, Ireland was a relatively poor country marked by its mass emigration and poor economic performance.
It transformed itself into a high-tech economy in a mere matter of years, and with this change, its entire economy benefitted as a result. A side effect of its tech sector has been the creation of a strong entrepreneurial spirit at home, and Dublin is well on its way to recovery from the effects of the Global Financial Crisis. It is difficult to imagine that this recovery would have occurred were it not for Ireland’s tech sector strength.
Frontier markets that have benefited from a growing tech sector
There are many examples of developing countries that have developed flourishing tech sectors, which have in turn galvanised their economies. Perhaps the most striking example is Lebanon. In 2010, starting a tech startup there was unheard of, but they are now the hottest companies in the country.
Lebanon has had to develop its tech sector in spite of challenging circumstances, including woefully inadequate infrastructure as well as funding issues and political instability. Incredibly, it was recently named as one of the world’s top 20 countries for entrepreneurship6. There are now over 300 tech startups in Lebanon, creating thousands of jobs and positioning the country to become a regional tech entrepreneurial leader in coming years.
Other Middle Eastern countries to benefit from a growing tech sector include Jordan and Iran. Saudi Arabia is turning its attention to developing its own tech sector and moving away from its own dependence on oil. In Jordan, the tech sector has truly rejuvenated the economy, making giant strides forward regarding employment, economic growth and helping the country to realise its growth potential7.
Much of Sub-Saharan Africa has also become known for its tech credentials. Kenya stands out. The African nation is now recognised as an authentic tech hub.
How will Iraq benefit from a strong tech sector?
Essentially, what a tech sector does for an economy is create jobs and opportunities, build a reputation for innovation for its host cities and countries, and attract foreign investment as well as foreigners with elusive skill sets.