By Dr Mounir Hamdi
Qatar is poised to spend US$9 billion in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector by 2024, according to GlobalData*. This spending will be spurred by the development of large-scale projects in the transportation, energy and construction sectors led by the government.
As Qatar looks to transform itself into a knowledge-based economy in line with its National Vision 2030, it is prioritising investments in the ICT infrastructure to fuel its next phase of growth and development.
Qatar’s government had the foresight to make the development of its ICT sector a strategic priority through its ICT-strategy 2015, and this enabled the country to become one of the leading economies in the region.
As it gears up for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar is utilising technologies to ensure a smooth experience for its visitors. Furthermore, we now know that technologies like 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), big data, Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud computing can empower digital transformation across all industries. Digital transformation can enable Qatar’s businesses to reconstruct their service model and allow their operations methodologies to become more agile and efficient. ICT implementations can ultimately bring convenience, opportunities, and benefits for Qatar’s society. However, the key to Qatar’s ICT sector’s success lies in talent and skills development, and leveraging public-private partnerships can be beneficial for the nation.
A critical factor that will underpin the success of Qatar’s ICT sector, driving digital transformation in the country, is talent. When combined appropriate industry collaborations, education can unleash the full potential of our ICT talent ecosystem. Leading educational institutions, such as Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), leverage collaborations with private entities to develop the next generation of confident and employable ICT professionals who can contribute towards the government’s vision and empower Qatar’s future digital economy. Partnerships between governmental organisations, academia, training agencies, and private sector enterprises promote the ICT talent ecosystem’s innovation and growth, enabling us to put the building blocks of ICT to good use in realising Qatar’s ambitions.
At HBKU, we partner with global technology pioneers like Huawei to help our graduates become technically qualified, provide them with vocational skills, and improve their employability. Private entities like Huawei are world-class leaders in the ICT field, and through our collaboration, our students have an opportunity to gain advanced industry knowledge, learn best practices, and most importantly, study the practical applications of cutting-edge technologies. It enables them to make a smooth and seamless transition from the classroom to the workplace.
Ultimately, education and public-private partnerships can promote the development of Qatar’s ICT talent, leading to the future growth of our digital economy and ensuring that Qatar remains a leading hub for technological innovation.
• The writer is Founding Dean of the College of Science and Engineering at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Fellow of IEEE.
(*ICT spending in Qatar will reach US$9bn in 2024 – GlobalData)
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