Amazon Web Services will open its first data centre in Bahrain in 2019, Teresa Carlson, vice-president of worldwide public sector at Amazon, said. “Bahrain has been a leader in taking out barriers. It was the first in the region to have a cloud-first policy,” Carlson said.
Carlson identifies the reasons which Amazon thinks could make Bahrain a well-off investment. The nation is business-friendly and offers 100% foreign ownership in businesses across most sectors. Bahrain has the most favourable tax regime in the Gulf Corporation Council and the country is highly competitive as some of the regions require extremely-low operating costs. Further, Amazon believes the island has the best educated and the most skilled workforce in the Gulf region.
Tamkeen Bahrain, a semi-autonomous government agency, is launching a new cloud computing programme that covers 100% of the cost of services from AWS.
In 2017, Bahrain announced a cloud-first policy that enables it to migrate systems to the cloud following the best practices while adhering to Information and eGovernment Authority (iGA)’s security standards and procedures.
As many as 1,500 government employees will be cloud-computing ready by 2020 and 1,000 government workloads will be migrated to the cloud by 2019, Mohammed Ali AlQaed, chief executive of iGA, said.
“With the adoption of cloud, there would be an increase in the security level and at the same time, a decrease in expenditure,” AlQaed said.
Bahrain has seen a significant shift in prominence of tech-driven industries over the past year with the growth of the Bahrain FinTech ecosystem, establishment of a $100-million fund of funds to help fund start-ups across the West Asia and a growing number of companies using the Central Bank of Bahrain’s regulatory sandbox to develop new products and services.
“Digital transformation has a vital role to play in the future of the region’s economy – whether that is creating new roles such as data analysts or new types of companies in areas such as IoT and cloud computing. The transformation to a digital economy will have a positive influence as it creates more opportunities by enabling entrepreneurship and innovation to disrupt all current industries as well as creating new sectors like industry 4.0 and fintech,” Simon Galpin, managing director of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, said.
(Travel for this report was sponsored by Bahrain Economic Development Board)