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Tech’s impact on GCC future focus of forum

Bahrain Business
Mon, 10 Sep 2018
By Avinash Saxena
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MANAMA: Bahrain is weeks away from hosting a week-long event series that will explore the impact of emerging technologies on the future of GCC, the Economic Development Board (EDB) announced yesterday.

The 2018 Bahrain Tech Week from September 28 to October 7, brings together technology experts from government, major private-sector entities and startups to explore how digital innovations can revolutionise industries across the GCC, the EDB said.

Delivered in strategic partnership with Tamkeen, Bahrain Tech Week presents a diverse programme of events, with more than 10 summits, forums and workshops exploring tech-driven disruption across different industries and sectors.

Last year’s edition attracted more than 4,500 participants across multiple events.

The AWS Summit, part of Amazon Web Services’ global events series, and the MIT Innovation Forum will form the cornerstones of Bahrain Tech Week, alongside events hosted by global telecommunications leaders, Huawei, as well as regional tech-startups, accelerators, and government entities.

“Having developed the GCC’s most advanced and liberalised ICT infrastructure, Bahrain has an important role to play in pioneering new frameworks that will allow further innovation and continue to attract world-class technology companies like AWS to Bahrain and the region,” said EDB chief executive Khalid Al Rumaihi.

“The AWS Summit builds on the success of last year’s event, which attracted more than 1,800 participants.”

Announcements made last year include the Information and eGovernment Authority (iGA) launching the Cloud First policy, a first for the region, as well as plans to locate the Mena’s first AWS Region (data centre) in Bahrain.

The iGA estimates that up to 60-90 per cent cost-savings have been garnered across government ICT infrastructure spending through migration onto cloud servers since the announcement.

The role of training and education in enabling digital innovation will also form an important theme of the week, with AWS estimating that 10,000 data solution architects will be needed across the region in the next five years.

Tamkeen CEO Dr Ebrahim Janahi described the event as “an important opportunity to explore how technological innovations are being harnessed to maximise growth potential of the national economy, from both an economic and human capital perspective”.

Bahrain has seen a significant shift in the prominence of tech-driven industries over the past year, with the growth of the fintech ecosystem, the establishment of a $100 million fund-of-funds to help fund startups across the Middle East; and a growing number of companies using the Central Bank of Bahrain’s regulatory sandbox to test new products and services.

These advances were reflected in the Global Startup Ecosystem Report, by the Global Entrepreneurship Network and Startup Genome, which featured Bahrain as the only Arab country in their global “ecosystems to watch” for both fintech and gaming. To take part in Bahrain Tech Week, visit:

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