Understanding the economic potential of the metaverse in the MENA Region

Although the metaverse is still in the early stages of development, it’s already possible to see its potential in areas like education, gaming, wellness and commerce. These opportunities, and others that will emerge as metaverse technologies are more widely adopted — opening up new markets and business models, creating better ways of working, and transforming training and development – are the focus of a new series of research reports, that examine the economic potential of the metaverse across the world including in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

According to ‘The metaverse and its potential for MENA’, this region is on a journey of economic transformation and digitalization, and their businesses and governments are showing an appetite for new digital and immersive tools. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia (KSA) are taking a leading role, actively investing in metaverse ecosystems.

KSA is investing US$1 billion in metaverse-related projects as it seeks to become a global technology hub. Similarly, Dubai has launched a Metaverse Strategy, aiming to “turn Dubai into one of the world’s top 10 metaverse economies” by focusing on innovation in tourism, real estate, education, retail and government services. With increasing interest in the metaverse across the region, several applications and commercial use cases have already started to emerge that demonstrate how consumers in the region might use the metaverse to attend virtual concerts, purchase virtual assets, or access education.

Realizing this potential in the Middle East and North Africa will, according to the research, depend on accelerating digital skills development and closing skills gaps across the region. When these plans are fully realized, the benefits to KSA’s economy could reach $20.2 – $38.1 billion per year in additional GDP by 2035. In the UAE those benefits could reach $8.8 – $16.7 billion per year, in Egypt US$11.6 – $22 billion per year, in Morocco US$2.6 – $5billion per year and in Jordan US$0.9 – $1.7 billion per year by 2035.

“The metaverse will be a constellation of technologies, platforms, and products built by a range of companies, opening up incredible new creative and commercial opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa and around the world. As this research shows, while these technologies may be virtual, their economic impact will be very real. Unlocking this potential is critically important and will only be achieved collaboratively, through effort and cooperation between technology companies, policymakers, civil society and others.” – said Fares Akkad, Regional Director, Middle East and Africa at Meta.

‘The metaverse and its potential for MENA’ is a part of a series of new reports commissioned by Meta and produced by Deloitte that examine the economic opportunity that could be achieved in the US, Canada, Brazil, the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Turkey, and Asia. Meta has authored reports that estimate the economic potential of the metaverse for the European Union and the United Kingdom.