The 32nd edition of Gitex Technology Week is set to record the presence of over 80 per cent of leading information and communication technology brands with C-level executives in attendance, representing ICT budgets of over $50 billion, according to its organiser. For the first time this year, Gitex will introduce a dedicated zone for the SME sector — a significant contributor in any economy across the world. Another new segment will be an international zone, further indicating Gitex’s vast global reach. “Africa in Focus” will be another prominent new highlight this year. Over the past 32 years, Gitex has consistently ramped up its scale and influence and is set to have an even greater international impact this year, further boosting the brand as one of the world’s largest and most influential ICT events. Under the theme “Where Technology Means Business”, Gitex Technology Week 2012 runs from October 14-18, 2012 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Gitex connects more than 138,000 industry professionals and over 3,500 suppliers from 144 countries across five continents, making it one of the world’s top three ICT exhibitions. And its reputation is set to grow further still as the Middle East and Africa region continues to use cutting-edge technology as the catalyst for increasingly rapid, era-defining developments. “The Middle East and Africa region is evolving with breath-taking pace, and so too is Gitex Technology Week 2012. As the organisers of the region’s premier ICT event, it is our job to stay ahead of the curve and provide the right platform for the latest innovations to flourish and take root,” said Trixee Loh, senior vice-president at the Dubai World Trade Centre, which is organising the event. “SAP is investing an additional spend of $450 million over the next four years into the Middle East and North Africa region... Gitex is a timely and powerful showcase for us elaborate on these plans,” said Sam Alkharrat, managing director of SAP Middle East and North Africa. New at Gitex Among the new additions set to make a mark this year is the SME Zone, which underscores the importance of small and medium-sized businesses and start-ups in shaping the MEA’s technology industry — from innovations to job creation. Tailored to maximise return on investment, Gitex’s SME Zone is a lucrative conduit for SME ICT businesses from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, to engage with a high concentration of influential investors. Further indicative of Gitex’s vast global reach is the introduction of an International Zone, a new platform dedicated to giving more than 40 specific country groups the chance to present their most innovative technology products. “Africa in Focus” is one of the most prominent new highlights at this year’s Gitex, serving to amplify the importance of the continent’s burgeoning economic potential. Gitex 2011 saw a 20 per cent increase in visitors from Africa, and there is a growing interest among technology companies in the continent to expand business across the borders and utilise Gitex as their platform for growth.