The volume of Turkey’s information and communication technology (ICT) sector reached 189 billion Turkish liras ($26.9 billion) in 2020, a sectoral body revealed on Thursday.

This sector grew by 22% year-on-year, according to a report co-authored by the financial advisory firm Deloitte Turkey and the Informatics Industry Association (TUBISAD).

The figure was well above from the forecast which expected an annual growth rate of 5-10% for the year, according to the ICT Sector 2020 Market Data and Trends.

Noting that the size of the sector rose 15% annually on average between 2016 and 2020, the report said the exchange rate effect and electronic communications contributed significantly to last year’s growth.

Exports of the Turkish ICT sector, which increased its employment to 143,000 people, totaled at 10.5 million liras ($1.5 million) in 2020.

The category of information technologies software took the largest share in total exports with 8.7 million Turkish liras ($1.2 million).

The report also revealed that the ICT market narrowed by 1% on a US dollar basis during the same period.

Commenting on the figure, TUBISAD head Levent Kiziltan said: “In light of this 1% contraction, the negative impact of exchange rate pressure on the future projection of our industry is obvious.”

However, year-on-year growth of 30% in the sector’s exports is promising, Kiziltan stressed.

Mehmet Fatih Kacir, deputy minister of industry and technology, highlighted how COVID-19 triggered an acceleration in digitalization in both the public and private sector.

“In the coming years, we project that cloud computing, 5G-and-beyond connectivity technologies, artificial intelligence, big data, cyber security and blockchain technologies will be effective on the industry,” Kacir stressed.

In 2019, the average US dollar/Turkish lira rate was around 5.68, while one dollar was exchanged for 7.02 liras on average in 2020.

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