Under the patronage and with the presence of H.E Minister of Telecommunication, Boutros Harb, a press conference was held at the Ministry of Telecommunication today to announce the launching of The Middle East and North Africa’s Online, Mobile and Console Games Conference and Exhibition, MENA Games 2015, set to be organized by International Fairs and Promotions (IFP) Group at Mar Mikhael historical train station in Beirut on 26 and 27 March 2015, with the official support of Alfa.
Starting from the promising prospects in the digital market in Lebanon and the region, H.E Minister Harb noted that “the ICT sector in Lebanon is among the fastest growing in the world, with the number of SME’s operating in the sector reaching 800 companies that employ around 5,000 highly specialized developers. In Egypt, H.E Harb continued, “there are a significant number of companies that has been staring up every year. While Saudi Arabia continues to constitute the largest digital consumer market in the region, Jordan is progressing in terms of the number of investments made in the sector for the second consecutive year."
Accordingly, H.E Minister Harb stated that “figures indicate that the market size will reach USD 570 million in Lebanon by 2017, and USD 3.2 billion in the region next year, creating unlimited opportunities for rewarding investment in the sector.” As such, “Events like MENA Games Conference are a perfect tool to shed light on and promote these investment and business opportunities", Harb concluded.
In this regard, Harb affirmed that the Ministry’s support to the event “comes in line with our vision towards the role of such events in knowledge transfer and capacity building in the local and regional markets.”
IFP’s Chairman and CEO, Albert Aoun, explained that “MENA Games Conference and Exhibition is an event aiming at developing the digital sector and gaming and applications industry and the related sub-sectors in Lebanon in the region”, promising that “This two days event will be full of innovation, business development and entrepreneurship.”
The potential of the Middle East and North Africa as a market for games and applications will be explored in detail, as MENA Games Conference welcomes 30 speakers and more than 400 companies from all over the world to Beirut.
The speaker schedule features some of the most prominent companies based in and serving the MENA region: Falafel Games, Game Power 7, Play 3arabi, Game Cooks, Wixel Studios, and many more. The event will focus on building bridges between the countries within the region and the rest of the gaming world. A broad range of subjects relating to that agenda will be covered, including the development of games for local Arabic audiences, expansion and investment opportunities for international companies, and the value of strong, collaborative relationships between MENA companies and those from other parts of the world.
What is even more important in this event according to Aoun is “the participation of a group of investors and representatives of business incubators dedicated to supporting emerging digital startups.” Thus, the conference will provide Arab entrepreneurs with a promising and unique opportunity to present their ideas in their early stages, and will also allow emerging companies that to seek the support they need to move on to a professional level, with the help of capable partners such as the International Games Developers Association (igda), and some of the regional developers’ associations from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, and others.
It is worth mentioning that Beirut has witnessed in the last few of years the founding of specialized incubators for the digital business, like Berytech and Berytech Fund who are participating in the event as gold sponsors, and Beirut Digital District that is participating as a silver sponsor, and others.