QFZ and the German ZE-KI Center for AI Sign MoU on the Side-lines of Web Summit

Adgully Bureau |

Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZ) and Zentrum für erlebbare Künstliche Intelligenz und Digitalisierung e.V. “ZE-KI e.V” (Center for Tangible Artificial Intelligence and Digitalization) based in Germany, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish an applied research centre of artificial intelligence (AI) within Qatar’s free zones in a ceremony held on the side-lines of QFZ’s participation in the Web Summit Qatar at the Qatar Start-up Pavilion alongside partners from Qatari ministries, leading authorities and organizations.

The MoU was signed by HE. Dr. Ahmad Al-Sayed, Minister of State and Chairman of Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZ), and Prof Dr. Sahin Albayrak, Chairman of the Board of Zentrum für erlebbare Künstliche Intelligenz und Digitalisierung e.V. “ZE-KI e.V”, in a ceremony attended by HE Lothar Freischlader, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Doha, and senior executives from both entities. The signing took place at Web Summit Qatar venue – the Doha Exhibition & Convention Center (DECC).

HE. Mohammed bin Ali Al Mannai, Minister of MCIT and Vice Chairman of QFZ, said: "In our quest for technological innovation and economic diversification, the partnership between QFZ and the ZE-KI Centre for Tangible Artificial Intelligence and Digitalization through this Memorandum of Understanding signifies a key achievement, and highlights our commitment to creating a dynamic environment for AI research and digital growth within the free zones in the State of Qatar. By merging ZEKI's advanced AI and digitalization capabilities with QFZ’s supportive ecosystem, we're establishing a new standard for innovation, which embodies our vision to position Qatar as a leading technology and innovation hub in alignment with the Qatar National Vision 2030. This initiative not only enhances our business landscape but also attracts global investments, driving economic growth through technology and research in line with National Digital Agenda 2030.”

On the occasion of the signing, HE. Dr. Ahmad Al Sayed, Minister of State and Chairman of QFZ, said: “In a world rapidly evolving with technology, our partnership with the ZE-KI Center for Tangible Artificial Intelligence and Digitalization marks a significant milestone in QFZ’s commitment to fostering innovation and research in AI. This MoU is not just an agreement but also a reflection of our vision to develop an artificial intelligence cluster that drives sustainable growth and prosperity aligned with QNV 2030 and the third National Development Strategy. With this step, QFZ reaffirms commitment to the development of the emerging technology sector within the framework of its strategic partnership with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in the State of Qatar.” HE added: “Through this collaboration, we aim to establish a leading applied AI research center within Qatar’s free zones, leveraging real labs and real data to advance sectors critical to our future including mobility, health and cybersecurity and business.”

Formalising collaboration between QFZ and ZE-KI, the MoU aims to facilitate the establishment of an applied AI research centre in Qatar’s free zones. The Centre, which will be commonly known as the ZE-KI Doha Centre, will be operated by ZE-KI whilst QFZ will support, encourage, and facilitate interaction between ZE-KI Doha Centre and investors established in the free zones in Qatar, as well as other relevant institutions such as educational providers, and entities such as MCIT & the Artificial Intelligence Committee to ensure strategic alignment. 

Prof Dr. Sahin Albayrak, Chairman of the Board of ZE-KI e.V, said: "As we embark on this collaborative journey with QFZ, we are honoured to be part of an initiative that represents a critical juncture in our shared vision. The establishment of the ZE-KI Doha Center within the free zones in Qatar is a reflection of our commitment to advancing the field of artificial intelligence in the Gulf and Middle East regions. This MoU is about more than building a research facility; it's about creating a nexus for innovation, where industry and academia can converge to push the boundaries of AI and digitalization."

The partnership with ZE-KI showcases QFZ’s commitment to the development of the digital industry, which focuses on emerging sectors and partnerships with leading organizations coupled with significant investments in infrastructure. This approach is designed to attract more global businesses and investors to Qatar and the region, supporting the growth of Qatar's economy and its vision as a center for technology, innovation, and economic diversification. By offering world-class services and fostering the introduction of disruptive technologies and advanced digital infrastructure, QFZ is not only enhancing business capabilities and innovation but also accelerating Qatar’s digital transformation in alignment with the Qatar National Vision 2030.

It is worth mentioning also that QFZ is an integrated platform offering outstanding opportunities for local private sector companies to grow and expand their businesses locally, regionally and globally through partnering with international investors. QFZ is focused on key business sectors where it offers a strong competitive advantage for businesses, such sectors are; Emerging Tech., Logistics & Trading, Industrial & Consumer, Marsa Maritime Development, Aerospace & Defense, Food & Agritech., Biomedical Sciences.