In 2020, we learnt about the willingness of MOTC to invest in the ICT industry to increase its contribution to Qatar's GDP, which stood at 2.7% in 2018. How do you see this plan developing in the short term?
The ICT market in Qatar is projected to grow at an annual rate of 5.1% until 2024, with total spending projected to reach USD2.77 billion. As a significant contributor to overall ICT spending, MOTC has made significant investments in the ICT sector through launch and procurement of various digital initiatives that will result in increased ICT contribution to overall GDP. Being at the forefront of global trends, Qatar had already started its digital transformation toward being a smart and connected country. With TASMU Smart Qatar Program, MOTC will be soon launch Smart Qatar Central Platform (SQCP), an IoT-based platform being built on Azure Cloud that has not only spearheaded direct investment in the cloud computing technologies but will also enable indirect investment in the cloud computing sector. Various government and business entities will utilize its capabilities to develop various smart city solutions and technologies. This has resulted in cloud computing being anticipated to have the highest growth rate of revenues, reaching USD1.6 billion, equivalent to 17.8% growth by 2024. Also, part of TASMU Smart Qatar Program, MOTC will be launching 100-plus digital use cases across five priority sectors that will leverage the latest emerging technologies such as IoT, AI, analytics, and cloud. The use cases will be launched through 2021 for the next coming areas and will drive MOTC's investment in innovative and emerging technologies. This will also lead to wider diffusion and application of such solutions in respecting sectors, thus increasing overall investments in the ICT sector.
What specific initiatives will MOTC prioritize in the short term to advance toward the goals set?
Through our other MOTC programs, we are also driving efforts to develop a vibrant digital ecosystem. We will see an increase in ICT contribution to overall GDP. Programs such as e-commerce and supporting adoption of smart solutions among small-medium business (SMEs Go Digital) will drive SMEs sector efforts to adopt technologies and improve sustainability and efficiency of various economic subsectors. From a digital skills perspective, digitalization will accelerate the development and growth of the ICT industry (with above-average expected growth of 4.5% until 2030). Equally important is the contribution of investments in digitalization and digital skills in a comprehensive series of industries such as healthcare, environment or education sectors, which are expected to be expedited through technological advancements. This means that in the next few years we will also focus our investments in establishing the right skills foundation so that Qatar's workforce is equipped with best-in-class digital skills necessary to leverage the full economic potential of digitalization.