A New AI Centre of Excellence Will Help Transform Qatar’s Economy


A new report released by global management consultancy Oliver Wyman examines how Qatar can build on its economic diversification by developing world-class Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications and scale by creating an AI Center of Excellence (CoE).

An AI CoE will help Qatar tap into this increasingly critical technology, ensuring that AI is applied for the benefit and support of Qatar’s national agenda, according to the report. Critically, AI has massive potential to diversify local economies, moving them away from oil and gas production.

“It can also play an important role in enabling national visions, ushering in a future of digital opportunity,” said Jad Haddad, Partner at Oliver Wyman. For Qatar, building an AI CoE will provide both an integral part of the nation’s digital future and will enable it to deliver impact at a national scale.”

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The report highlights the five strategy pillars of an AI CoE, which includes: Strategy and Vision; Services; Organization and Governance; Technology; and Funding and Partnerships.

The development in AI applications in both the private and public sectors has seen significant growth globally due to the increase in data generated across social, machine and transactional platforms.

Nations in the GCC have also made investments in the area of AI since recognizing its contribution to global economic growth. GCC AI spending is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19 per cent by 2023. A number of GCC nations have developed AI strategies to support their national visions, including the United Arab Emirates in 2017, Qatar in 2019, and Saudi Arabia in 2020.

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Already in place in Qatar is the Qatar Center for Artificial Intelligence (QCAI), which is of major importance for the country as it introduces AI strategy as an enabler to the Qatar National Vision 2030.

“The Qatari Government is using AI to tackle its most critical national concerns,” added Haddad. “AI is enabling innovation and helping in transforming the public sector on multiple dimensions. While it is clear the benefits of AI are already significant, there are of course challenges around execution, in particular across governance and organisational digital capabilities.”

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