Regional data hub planned

Bahrain will be home to a new multi-million dollar data centre under an initiative led by the Arab League, which is expected to drive massive growth in regional data traffic.

The new Bahrain technology solutions hub will be developed under a partnership between the Arab Federation for Digital Economy (AFDE), a part of the Arab League, and UAE-based digital transformation company ATDXT.

The announcement follows the signing of an agreement between the two partners during a virtual event held under the patronage of Foreign Minister Dr Abdullatif Al Zayani.

The hub will focus on localised data protection, enhancing security, and enabling digital transformation, including e-government, e-commerce and e-health solutions; secure digital tokens and fintech; transportation; digital identity; telecommunication transformation systems; crime management and cyber-security; e-agriculture platforms as well as solar and renewable energy.

The solutions will be focused on supporting both government and private sector entities towards improving regional economic competitiveness and fostering integration with the global economy.

The deployment will be extended to Arab members in the first phase with other states to follow later.

Commenting, Dr Al Zayani said: “I congratulate the ATDXT Group for choosing Bahrain to be the digital transformation solutions hub, reflecting the excellence of the country’s investment environment and the support and facilities provided by authorities to investors. This partnership will enable us to contribute to digital development of the Middle-East and provide leading services to our citizens and residents.”

ATDXT Group founder and executive chairman GS Murthy said he was “delighted to incubate the first of many multi-million-dollar regional hubs, in Bahrain.”

“We are confident that our best-in-class skill development initiative, focused on cutting-edge technologies, will create immense job opportunities and future technology leaders across the Arab world,” he added.

Ambassador Hossam Zaki, assistant secretary general of the Arab League, said: “The Arab League along with the Arab Union is actively promoting a joint strategic vision for the digital economy. Digital transformation and related topics such as artificial intelligence and digital data are becoming the basic resource of this era. I’m confident that this partnership will strengthen Arab cooperation in the digital world.”

The announcement has also been welcomed by the national investment promotion agency, the Economic Development Board (EDB) whose chief executive Khalid Humaidan said: “We are delighted Bahrain has been chosen as the central location for this initiative and we look forward to serving the Arab world’s digital transformation goals across multiple sectors. Bahrain is well positioned to act as the main hub for the project. Its digital infrastructure, forward-thinking regulatory framework and its highly educated and tech-savvy population make it a favourable environment for projects like this.”

The latest announcement comes a little over six months after Chinese technology giant Tencent announced it had chosen Bahrain to deploy its first regional public cloud infrastructure.

The maker of social media app WeChat said in March that its brand-new Internet data centre would go live in the kingdom by the end of the year.

Commenting on the Tencent investment, Transportation and Telecommunications Minister Kamal Ahmed said Bahrain aspires to become the Mena region’s cloud and data centre hub, on the back of proactive initiatives such as the government’s ‘Cloud-First’ policy and nationwide 5G availability.




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