The Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZ) and Zentrum fur erlebbare Kunstliche Intelligenz und Digitalisierung e V ‘ZE-KI e V’ (Centre for Tangible Artificial Intelligence and Digitalisation) based in Germany have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish an applied research centre of Artificial Intelligence (AI) within Qatar’s free zones.
The event took place during a ceremony held on the sidelines of QFZ’s participation in the Web Summit Qatar at the Qatar Start-up Pavilion, alongside partners from Qatari ministries, leading authorities and organisations.
The MoU was signed by HE the Minister of State and Chairman of Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZ) Dr Ahmad al-Sayed and Prof Dr Sahin Albayrak, the chairman of Zentrum fur erlebbare Kunstliche Intelligenz und Digitalisierung e V ‘ZE-KI e V’, in the presence of German ambassador Lothar Freischlader and senior executives from both entities.
HE the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mohamed bin Ali al-Mannai, who is also vice chairman of QFZ, said: “In our quest for technological innovation and economic diversification, the partnership between QFZ and the ZE-KI Centre for Tangible Artificial Intelligence and Digitalisation through this memorandum of understanding signifies a key achievement and highlights our commitment to creating a dynamic environment for AI research and digital growth within the free zones in Qatar.”
Al-Sayed said: “This MoU is not just an agreement but also a reflection of our vision to develop an Artificial Intelligence cluster that drives sustainable growth and prosperity aligned with Qatar National Vision 2030 and the third National Development Strategy.
“With this step, QFZ reaffirms its commitment to the development of the emerging technology sector within the framework of its strategic partnership with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in Qatar.”
Formalising collaboration between QFZ and ZE-KI, the MoU aims to facilitate the establishment of an applied AI research centre in Qatar’s free zones. The centre, commonly known as the ZE-KI Doha Centre, will be operated by ZE-KI whilst QFZ will support, encourage, and facilitate interaction between ZE-KI Doha Centre and investors established in the free zones in Qatar, as well as other relevant institutions such as educational providers, and entities, such as MCIT and the Artificial Intelligence Committee to ensure strategic alignment.
Albayrak said: “The establishment of the ZE-KI Doha Centre within the free zones in Qatar is a reflection of our commitment to advancing the field of artificial intelligence in the Gulf and Middle East regions. This MoU is about more than building a research facility; it's about creating a nexus for innovation, where industry and academia can converge to push the boundaries of AI and digitalisation.”
The partnership with ZE-KI showcases QFZ’s commitment to the development of the digital industry, which focuses on emerging sectors and partnerships with leading organisations coupled with significant investments in infrastructure. QFZ is focused on key business sectors where it offers a strong competitive advantage for businesses, such as emerging tech, logistics and trading, industrial and consumer, Marsa maritime development, aerospace and defence, food and agritech, and biomedical sciences.
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