The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has the potential to create 45 tech start-ups worth almost $100 billion by 2030, according to a new report.

Saudi Technology Ventures (STV) said the MENA region could produce 45 companies worth a minimum of $1 billon each before the end of the decade, including a decacorn, or technology company worth $10 billion.

That decacorn is expected to reach a value of $20 billion, five will be worth $5 billion, 13 worth $2 billion and 26 worth $26 billion, a total of $97 billion, according to STV’s report titled, From Startup to IPO, unlocking a $100 billion+ Opportunity.

The report produced by the venture capital fund cited the region’s youthful population, 55% under 30, growing at 1.6% per year, as well as its high average daily social media consumption of 3.5 hours.

The region also has the highest percentage of “unbanked” consumers, or those without bank accounts, at 45%, leading to large potential for fintech businesses, the report said.

STV described Saudi Arabia as the “gravitational centre” for the broader MENA catchment area, which also includes Central Africa, Southeast Europe and Southwest Asia.

The two main drivers of Saudi’s status as a hub for tech start-ups are its GDP, which account for one third of the region’s GDP and the size and depth of its stock exchange, STV said. New development programmes and company laws designed to encourage innovation and remove barriers also play a part. 

(Reporting by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Seban Scaria)