After three years of declining sales of uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) into the Middle East and Africa region, the market returned to growth in 2012 and is forecast to continue to expand in 2013.

With a combined UPS market worth $550 million in 2012, Middle East and Africa clearly offer a major opportunity for UPS vendors, according a new report titled, “The Middle East & Africa Market for Uninterruptible Power Supplies - 2013 Edition,” from IMS Research, now part of IHS. However, to really understand where the opportunity lies, each country must be analyzed in terms of its unique applications and varied growth drivers.

“Looking just at the Middle East, growth is projected to stay around the 5 percent range during the next two years,” said Liz Cruz, senior analyst, data center and critical infrastructure, at IHS. “Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will drive growth in the near term, while more emerging UPS markets like Oman and Qatar will generate higher long-term growth.”

While oil prices are expected to weaken in 2013 and continue to be soft in 2014, some countries in the Middle East have other market drivers that are creating new applications for UPS. Building out the transportation and utility infrastructure will affect numerous regions’ UPS markets, as well as some new data center construction that will boost sales in the region.

As a whole, the African market is forecast to grow by single-digits in the near term but will pick up steam by 2015. North Africa will constrain growth over the next year or two as the political and resulting economic situation recovers. But the Sub-Saharan regions, especially Nigeria and South Africa, are forecast to have stronger growth in the near-term.

“Everything from power quality, civil unrest, emerging data center construction, infrastructure development and even tourism will affect UPS market growth over the next five years,” Cruz said. “These factors will affect each country’s UPS market differently.”