This report provides a policy-relevant summary of the main findings of a 2020–21 research project by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Economic Research Forum (ERF) on digitalization, growth, employment, and inequality in the Arab region. Building on the key findings of in-depth thematic studies and eight country case studies, the report assesses the actual and potential benefits and risks of digitalizing the economy. It examines the channels of impact and reflects on how they could be improved. The report provides a consolidated overview of key regional trends, elicited primarily from case studies of eight countries (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia). The case studies take stock of research on the extent of progress of digitalization and affiliated new technologies, including automation, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, and blockchain; examine their economic and social impacts; identify the policy challenges each country faces; and propose sets of policies customized for countries that share similar challenges.
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