DOHA, Qatar & PARIS, France- Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA) and Thales Group today signed a cooperation agreement to establish a Digital Competence Centre in Qatar Free Zones.

His Excellency Ahmad bin Mohamed Al-Sayed, Minister of State and Chairman of QFZA, and Thales Group Chairman and CEO Patrice Caine signed the agreement during a virtual signing ceremony in Doha and Paris.

The Centre will be a hub for software development and facilitate large-scale projects including events and security solutions, playing a key role in Qatar Free Zones’ growing technology ecosystem. In the short term, this includes providing development support for large applications such as FAN ID, to manage spectator flows and access during large sporting events. Over the longer term, QFZA and Thales expect the Centre to support projects in areas including counter-UAV, airport security and operations optimization, large event security, mobility and experience solutions. Thales and QFZA will also investigate the opportunity to create a start-up incubator and research partnerships to grow a local/international ecosystem and explore in the future the development of other activities in Thales’ areas of expertise.

His Excellency Ahmad bin Mohamed Al-Sayed, Minister of State and Chairman of the Qatar Free Zones Authority, said, “We look forward to working with Thales, already a key player in Qatar Free Zones, to set up this hub for innovation and technological exploration. The Centre will be able to support a very exciting range of projects, and provide leading technological support for other companies in Qatar Free Zones, and across the country. Today’s agreement builds on the strategic collaboration agreement we signed recently with Google Cloud to launch a new Cloud region in Doha, based in Qatar Free Zones, as well as our existing cooperation with Microsoft. These agreements are key pillars in our strategy to localize agreements and international centres and to further develop our leading technology ecosystem, for the benefit of Qatar and all our investors.”

Patrice Caine, Chairman and CEO of Thales, said, “Innovation and digital transformation are at the heart of Thales’ strategy. Our vision is aligned with Qatar National Vision 2030 to develop local competencies in digital and innovate for the future of the country’s industrial ecosystem. We are honored to launch this strategic collaboration with Qatar Free Zones in order to provide leading technological support as well as groundbreaking solutions in different areas including large events security, counter-UAV, airport security, operations optimization, and mobility. Thales is proud to be contributing further to the growth and expansion plans of the State of Qatar by creating highly skilled jobs and establishing a hub for innovation in Qatar.”

Since it started its operations in 2019, Qatar Free Zones has approved projects worth a total of more than one billion USD from a wide range of leading local and global companies focused on the new economy, internet of things, sustainability, IT, big data, communications, transport, logistics, medical services, aviation, cybersecurity, and agritech.

About Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA)

Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA) started its operations in 2019 and it oversees and regulates world-class free zones in Qatar and secures fixed investments within the zones. QFZA offers outstanding opportunities and benefits for businesses seeking to establish operations and expand regionally and globally, providing quality infrastructure, a skilled workforce, 100% foreign ownership, access to investment funds, tax exemptions and partnership opportunities with Qatari entities.

About Thales

Thales (Euronext Paris: HO) is a global technology leader shaping the world of tomorrow today. The Group provides solutions, services and products to customers in the aeronautics, space, transport, digital identity and security, and defense markets. With 83,000 employees in 68 countries, Thales generated sales of €19 billion in 2019.

Thales is investing in particular in digital innovations — connectivity, Big Data, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity — technologies that support businesses, organizations and governments in their decisive moments.