The Upside of Digital for the Middle East and North Africa

March 16
9:00 am
 – 10:00 am

The socioeconomic benefits would be immense if countries across the Middle East and North Africa fully digitized their economies. Yet despite widespread usage of social media, the uptake of digital technologies such as mobile money and digital payments has been low in many countries across the region. How can we explain this digital paradox?

A new report, “The Upside of Digital for the Middle East and North Africa: How Digital Technology Adoption Can Accelerate Growth and Create Jobs,” seeks to understand this paradox. It provides estimates of the economic gains from digitalization and offers policy recommendations on how the region could approach universal coverage. Join this report launch event and hear from the report authors, followed by a lively discussion with policymakers, academics and the private sector.


Opening Remarks:

  • Roberta Gatti, Chief Economist, Middle East and North Africa, World Bank


  • Ana Paula Cusolito, Senior Economist, World Bank
  • Christina Wood, Senior Economist, World Bank


  • Ahmad Hanandeh, Minister of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship, Jordan
  • Hakima El Alami, Director of Payment Systems and Instruments Oversight and Financial Inclusion Department, Central Bank of Morocco
  • Hesham Safwat, CEO of Jumia Egypt
  • Michael Luca, Lee J. Styslinger III Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School