McKinsey’s Tarek Elmasry says that in global terms, the Internet is the size of Spain; Arabic is fastest-growing language online.

The internet drives job creation in developing countries at twice the rate it does in developed countries.

This was the message from Tarek Elmasry, managing director, Middle East, McKinsey & Company, during his Abu Dhabi Media Summit address entitled Digital Economics.

In a brief presentation, Elmasry highlighted the internet’s positive impact in driving employment and growing GDP: “We know that the internet increases productivity,” he said. “But it also has a tangible impact on job creation.”

“In the developed world, for every job reduced, 1.6 were created thanks to the internet. In the aspiring world, that number is double. This creates a lot of hope, excitement but also responsibility about how to harness this growth.”

“Somewhere of between 2-3% of a country’s GDP is created and only exists because of the internet. Globally, that would make the internet the size of Spain and growing faster than Brazil,” said Elmasry.

“Globally, we’re now north of 2bn connected internet users at the moment,” he continued. “But aspiring countries are growing their internet penetration at six times the rate of developed countries. Most of that is mobile driven.”

Elmasry described the UAE as the “the world’s second most wired country in terms of homes connected” and pointed out that Arabic is the fastest growing language on the internet.

He said that the Middle East as a whole — as an emerging market — had a great opportunity to generate significant economic growth thanks to the growth of the internet, and also recognised that the Middle East is a combination of hyper developed and less developed digital infrastructure.