The US Chamber of Commerce recently met with key players and stakeholders in the country, including Doha-based American companies, to discuss ways to further develop Qatar’s digital economy sector.
Liz Clark, senior manager, Middle East Affairs, said the US Chamber’s meetings were led by senior vice president for Middle East and International Development Khush Choksy, who held discussions with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT).
Other meetings were also held with HE the Minister of Finance Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari and HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad bin Qassim al-Thani, as well as with the Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA), Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), and Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), among others.
Clark underscored the chamber’s robust relationship with the MCIT, citing the formal launching of the US Chamber’s ICT Regulatory and Policy Landscape of Qatar white paper, which was held in June this year.
The white paper was created by the US-Qatar Digital Economy Working Group to outline Qatar’s digital economy ecosystem and provide analysis and recommendations for key areas, such as cloud services, data privacy, cybersecurity, and digital transformation.
Clark said the white paper aims to identify gaps and areas that may offer opportunities to improve Qatar’s digital economy sector and transform the country into a “more attractive destination for outside events.”
“But one of the white paper’s main findings was that there is such a robust digital infrastructure in Qatar. And considering the amount of data being collected in relation to the World Cup, what do you do with that data and how can we capitalise on everything that’s happening with the World Cup?” Clark told Gulf Times in an exclusive interview.
She said, “During our roundtable discussion with many of the major digital economy players in Qatar and the main US companies based here, the focus of the session was about ‘What comes next?’ ‘What do we do after the World Cup?’ There’s all this infrastructure that’s being put into place to accommodate such a major event.”
Clark stressed that there are plenty of opportunities to capitalise on the data collected, utilising it to improve future events inside and outside Qatar, as well as other future World Cups. The roundtable also identified ways to improve the sector and what companies need to attract more investments in this sector.
“We’ve seen that the digital economy sector is one of the main areas that companies are excited about. Besides oil and gas, it’s one of the fastest growing and thriving sectors in Qatar, so we see a lot of US companies wanting to enter the local market.
“Microsoft is the chair of our Digital Economy Working Group. They were one of the driving forces behind the white paper, and they’re such a huge player in Qatar and the opening of their data centre is added value for the country, especially with the World Cup coming up. Looking beyond, Microsoft will be able to offer a lot to US companies and encourage them to come here and use this as a launch point for operations throughout the region,” Clark emphasised.