arab computer 88.
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The number of Internet users in the Arab world has increased by more than nine million in one year to reach 26.3 million by the end of 2005, according to figures released recently by Madar Research and reported in the Mena Report.
The growth rate of Internet use has substantially risen over 2004 levels to average at around 55 percent, with few countries where Internet penetration is lowest witnessing three-digit growth. This led to a pan-Arab penetration rate of 8.50% in 2005, compared to 5.36% in 2004.
Though growth in the number of Internet users in the Arab world is much higher than the world average - estimated at around 18% - Arab Internet user penetration was still well below the world average of around 14% by the end of 2005.
Government initiatives, mostly supported by IT companies and private organizations, to increase the PC installed base at educational institutions and homes have largely contributed to growth in Internet use in many Arab countries, according to the Mena Report.
Madar Research, however, expects growth in the Arab Internet population to continue increasing over the next few years before it stabilizes at moderate levels. The United Arab Emirates remained the Arab leader in terms of the Internet user penetration rate in 2005, followed by Bahrain and Qatar.
The Madar Research Internet user survey covers a total of 18 countries - excluding Somalia, Mauritania, Djibouti and Comoros.
The full study highlights the number of Internet users broken down by country, penetration and growth rates, along with comparisons and analyses including drivers and inhibitors of growth. The study is part of larger research that also covers fixed lines, Internet users and computer installed base in the Arab world in 2005.
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