* The new Microsoft cloud region will enable govt and businesses in Qatar to embark on digital transformation journey
HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani on Wednesday attended a ceremony to announce the establishment of a new cloud datacentre region in Qatar, in co-operation between the Ministry of Transport and Communications and Microsoft.
The initiative seeks to deliver Microsoft's intelligent, trusted cloud services and expand the Microsoft global cloud infrastructure to 55 cloud regions in 20 countries.
The new region is anticipated to be available starting with Microsoft Azure in 2021, and Office 365, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform to follow.
The new region will be managed from the Qatari Free Zones to show their capabilities at the global level as a modern and distinctive incubator for such initiatives, in order to enhance self-sufficiency and sustainability and improve the local environment and make it effective in developing the region and the world.
The ceremony was also attended by HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti and Executive Vice-President of Microsoft and President for its Global Sales, Marketing and Operations Jean-Philippe Courtois.
Commenting on the occasion, HE al-Sulaiti said that this collaboration with Microsoft comes as part of accelerating the efforts led by the government of Qatar to implement the country's digital transformation agenda and build a knowledge-based economy as laid down in the Qatar National Vision 2030.
The minister said that the ministry, through its partnership with Microsoft, seeks to make the new cloud datacenter region in Qatar available with Microsoft Azure by 2021, to serve Qatar and turn it into a regional centre that contributes to the development of the region and the world, adding that the cloud datacenter region will contribute to supporting the innovation mechanism in smart solutions in the healthcare services and scientific research in the areas of artificial intelligence education, and sports event management solutions and applications.
Government entities, organisations, public and private enterprises and developers will have access to scalable, highly available, and resilient cloud services to accelerate their digital transformation journeys better engage customers, empower employees, optimise operations, and transform products and services from the new cloud region in Qatar.
"The new Microsoft cloud region will deliver unprecedented opportunity for government and businesses in Qatar to successfully embark on their digital transformation journey," said Courtois.
"Intelligent cloud services are at the heart of our efforts to help establish the country as a knowledge and innovation hub, and builds on our investments to develop a cloud region in Qatar. We expect it will also help drive economic growth, upskill the workforce, and provide a foundation for the country in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030."
The new cloud region is anticipated to play a pivotal role in bridging the skills gap in Qatar. Microsoft is also collaborating with the Qatar Digital Government to launch a nationwide upskilling programme that will train government employees enhancing their technical acumen in cloud technologies.
The new cloud region will adhere to Microsofts trusted cloud principles and become part of one of the largest cloud infrastructures in the world, already serving more than a billion customers and 20mn businesses. Microsoft's cloud services are compliant with the European Unions General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and are certified for a large portfolio of international security and privacy standards, some of which form the basis of Qatar government policies, including the Ministry of Transport and Communications National Information Assurance Policy and the Cloud Security and Information Privacy Protection regulations.
The new Microsoft region in Qatar will offer Microsoft's scalable, trusted and reliable cloud services combined with in-country customer data residency. Microsoft will help empower customers through its deep expertise in protecting customer data to meet extensive security and privacy requirements as well as the broadest set of compliance certifications and attestations in the industry.