Progressive policies can help unlock the economic and job-creating potential of MENA’s tech entrepreneurs, writes Fadi Ghandour.
Look closely at the Arab world and you will see a region on the cusp of something bold and innovative, as the region’s youth drive a transformative era of technological disruption.
This is a generation of trailblazers, spurred by creative and technological prowess, who are reshaping industries, creating new sources of wealth and building a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem – a potent counterbalance to high rates of youth unemployment in the MENA.
But despite their formidable potential, tech startups face many impediments within an economic reality that is insensitive to their needs. Antiquated policies and bureaucratic red tape amplify the already myriad difficulties of building a profitable business.
Risk is always attached to innovation, while regulations exist to mitigate against the potential – unpredictable – fall-out from new business models. Today, policy makers need to achieve a better balance in favour of innovation and growth.
From the perspective of the average 20-something tech entrepreneur, the policy reforms necessary to catalyse entrepreneurial momentum are straightforward, carry very little cost for Arab governments and – as the experiences of pioneering countries show – are achievable.