Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA) and Thales Group last night signed a cooperation agreement to establish a Digital Competence Centre in the Qatar Free Zones.
HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani witnessed yesterday evening the signing of the agreement by HE the Minister of State Ahmad bin Mohamed al-Sayed, also chairman of QFZA, and Thales Group chairman and CEO Patrice Caine at a virtual signing ceremony in Doha and Paris. 
The centre will be a hub for software development and facilitate large-scale projects including events and security solutions, playing a key role in Qatar Free Zones’ growing technology ecosystem.
In the short term, this includes providing development support for large applications such as FAN ID, to manage spectator flows and access during large sporting events. Over the longer term, QFZA and Thales expect the centre to support projects in areas including counter-UAV, airport security and operations optimisation, large event security, mobility and experience solutions.
Thales and QFZA will also investigate the opportunity to create a start-up incubator and research partnerships to grow a local/international ecosystem and explore in the future the development of other activities in Thales’ areas of expertise.
HE Ahmad bin Mohamed al-Sayed said, “We look forward to working with Thales, already a key player in Qatar Free Zones, to set up this hub for innovation and technological exploration. The Centre will be able to support a very exciting range of projects, and provide leading technological support for other companies in Qatar Free Zones, and across the country. Today’s agreement builds on the strategic collaboration agreement we signed recently with Google Cloud to launch a new Cloud region in Doha, based in Qatar Free Zones, as well as our existing cooperation with Microsoft. These agreements are key pillars in our strategy to localize agreements and international centres and to further develop our leading technology ecosystem, for the benefit of Qatar and all our investors.”  
Caine said, “Innovation and digital transformation are at the heart of Thales’ strategy. Our vision is aligned with Qatar National Vision 2030 to develop local competencies in digital and innovate for the future of the country’s industrial ecosystem.
“We are honoured to launch this strategic collaboration with Qatar Free Zones in order to provide leading technological support as well as groundbreaking solutions in different areas including large events security, counter-UAV, airport security, operations optimization, and mobility. Thales is proud to be contributing further to the growth and expansion plans of the State of Qatar by creating highly skilled jobs and establishing a hub for innovation in Qatar.”
Since it started its operations in 2019, Qatar Free Zones has approved projects worth a total of more than $1bn from a wide range of leading local and global companies focused on the new economy, internet of things, sustainability, IT, big data, communications, transport, logistics, medical services, aviation, cybersecurity, and agritech.

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