The Minister of Transport and Communications H E Jassim bin Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti said the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) is determined to place Qatar as a regional ICT hub and a destination for international investors by investing in cloud computing.
The Minister disclosed this during a virtual event hosted by the MoTC and Microsoft to celebrate the first anniversary of cloud migration via Microsoft Azure.
The Minister also announced the completion of construction and infrastructure for three data centers for Microsoft Azure that would begin operations in the first quarter of 2022, making Qatar the 55th Azure region in the world.
The new cloud region will enable organisations to avail enterprise-grade performance, security, combined with data residency and the broadest compliance.
The event was attended by the Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Doha, Ambassador Greta C. Holtz, Lana Khalaf, Country Manager, Microsoft Qatar, MoTC and Microsoft officials, and others.
“We are determined to invest in cloud computing for Qatar to become a regional hub for ICT and a destination for international investors in the field. Slightly more than a year ago, we concluded a strategic partnership with Microsoft to establish a regional center in Qatar for Microsoft Azure Cloud,” he said.
The Minister of Transport and Communications H E Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti saidsaid that construction work considered the importance of using clean energy and limiting carbon emissions. HE the Minister added that work is ongoing to ensure the centres are linked together using fiber optics to ensure data availability at all times.
Qatar’s public sector is among the world leaders in the use of AI today. Nearly 30% of Azure usage comes from advanced data workloads enabling intelligent analytics and decision making to interpret data. The Qatar Azure Centre will reduce carbon footprints by producing up to 98% less carbon emissions through renewable energy, reducing energy consumption by over 30%.
A PwC study recently stated that the development and deployment of AI solutions are expected to contribute 8% to Qatar’s GDP by 2030.
Meanwhile, Lana Khalaf, Country Manager of Microsoft Qatar, said the cloud computing programme has helped organizations reduce operation costs by approximately 40% and enhanced security posture by more than 35%. The Azure Qatar National Framework has also been established to focus on four points, including digitalization (AI, IoT etc.), people (to provide around 24,000 new jobs in Qatar by 2024), and reskill more than 10,000 individuals annually.
Kalaf stressed that economic growth is another crucial point in the framework aiming to further position as a digital hub, creating around $3.14bn opportunities of new revenue for the economy over the next five years, significantly impacting the GDP.
Also, sustainability is a vital piece of the project to reduce carbon footprint in line with Qatar’s sustainability vision per the QNV 2030.
Ambassador Greta Holtz said the private sector partnership between the US and Qatar is strong and growing based on shared goals of sustainability and innovation.
“The achievement between Qatar and the US in the tech sector and our deep partnership stems directly from QNV 2030. ICT is the underlying backbone of many of the Qatar National Vision 2030 goals with outstanding initiatives such as the TASMU programme. The world-class solutions offered and delivered by multiple US Companies in the tech sector have flourished in this ideal environment. From education and healthcare to food security and oil and gas and other sectors, US tech firms are here to support Qatar and create jobs for the future with our trademark American innovation and sustainability.”
On the sidelines of the event, several organisations were recognized for overcoming the current challenges using Microsoft cloud technologies, based on special evaluation criteria relating to innovation, cost optimization and crisis response. The winners are, Crisis Response: Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Education and Higher Education and the health sector represented by Ministry of Public Health, Hamad Medical Corporation and Primary Health Care Corporation. Al Jazeera won the Industry Innovation, Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs claimed the Business Continuity recognition, Qatar Free Zones Authority (Born on Cloud) while MoTC were recognised with the Cost Optimization award.