File photo used for representation only
Qatar has made strides in digital transformation by developing its ICT sector and strengthening human resource capacity. As the infrastructure works related to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 comes to a close, the country is looking to build on this momentum and attract talent in high-potential areas.
“By leveraging 5G while developing segments such as online video gaming and e-sports in an increasingly digitalised global economy, Qatar is solidifying its position as a leading ICT market in the region and beyond," noted the Oxford Business Group (OBG) report.
Qatar is prioritising the development of its ICT sector as it aims to transform into a knowledge-based economy in line with Qatar National Vision 2030, the country’s framework for economic diversification and growth. Human resource development is critical to the authorities’ goal of becoming a regional leader in ICT, and local talent stands to benefit from partnerships between educational institutions and global tech firms aimed at bolstering innovation.
Growth in ICT will be driven by the country’s extensive pipeline of large-scale, government-led infrastructure projects in transport and energy, as well as by innovation in the financial services, retail and health sectors.
“Chief among these developments is the Lusail City project, which is central to preparations for hosting the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The smart city is being built with technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), 5G and artificial intelligence (AI), among others, to encourage sustainability and promote mobility. Beyond hosting this major sporting event, Qatar is looking to leverage opportunities in other high-potential areas such as e-sports, as well as boost the local research and development (R&D) ecosystem,” the global research and advisory firm report stated.
According to the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA), the information and communications sector grew by 1.9 percent at constant prices in 2020 to QR10.4bn ($2.9bn), outpacing growth of 0.1 percent in 2019. Its share of total GDP also increased, from 1.4 percent in 2019 to 1.6 percent in 2020. In the second quarter of 2021 the sector accounted for 1.5 percent of GDP, or QR2.58bn ($708.1m).
The ICT sector was valued at $4.4bn in 2021 and is anticipated to grow on the back of significant investment. According to UK-based data analytics consultancy Global Data, ICT spending in Qatar will expand by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.2 percent between 2019 and 2024 to reach $9bn. Over this period, IoT, cloud computing, cybersecurity, big data analytics and AI are expected to drive growth and comprise roughly 50 percent of the market. Cloud computing, for example, is forecast to grow by a CAGR of 17.8 percent over the period to $1.6bn, driven by the software-as-a-service segment as Qatari companies shift from on-site software to cloud-based models.
OBG report pointed that the development of Qatar’s ICT ecosystem has been facilitated by cooperation between local and international players to increase capacity. “Qatar has been working to establish itself as a destination for unique fan experiences driven by technology. There are growth opportunities in digital fan engagement, especially due to upcoming sporting events such as the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the 2030 Asian Games,” it added.