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World Bank, Washington, DC
Middle East and North Africa | Middle East | Iran, Islamic Republic of | Iraq | Jordan | Lebanon | Syrian Arab Republic
2019-07-01T20:47:37Z | 2019-07-01T20:47:37Z | 2018

The Mashreq countries must fully leverage digital infrastructure as well as their relative strengths in transforming their economies. The report lays out the strategic importance of digital infrastructure for countries in the region, takes stock of its status, and provides recommendations. Countries studied are: Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Iran, and Syria. Digital infrastructure covers the broadband value chain: international connectivity, Internet exchange points (IXPs), backbone networks, and access networks. It identifies the main elements of broadband networks in the Mashreq, assesses the potential of data centers and regional IXPs, and provides benchmarks on key sector indicators for the region. The second part of the report looks in detail at the importance of regional digital infrastructure for key sectors of the Mashreq economy, relates digital infrastructure to the overall development program of the Mashreq, and presents emerging research in private sector digital platforms in the region. It concludes that there is a substantial cross-infrastructure agenda both at the national, but more importantly, at the regional level, as energy and transport networks can be effectively used to expand broadband access in the region both across and within countries. The report presents several opportunities for the Mashreq governments to take advantage of and improve their digital infrastructure and the verticals that build on it. The report also highlights the opportunity to develop regional digital services for trade diversification, growth, and economic integration as a foundation for the emergence of a digital economy. Finally, the report stresses the importance of digital transformation, highlighting opportunities in key sectors, including health, education, urban development, and social services for migrant communities.


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