Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com, Inc. Company has announced the launch of its second Region in the Middle East, the AWS Middle East (UAE) Region. Developers, startups, entrepreneurs, and enterprises, as well as government, education, and nonprofit organizations will have even greater choice for running their applications and serving end users from data centers located in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), using advanced AWS technologies to drive innovation. AWS estimates that its projected spending on the construction and operation of the new Region will support an average of nearly 6,000 full-time jobs annually at external vendors, with a planned $5 billion (AED 20 billion) investment in the local economy through 2036. The AWS Middle East (UAE) Region will also add an estimated $11 billion over the next 15 years to the UAE’s gross domestic product (GDP). “AWS is committed to helping customers in the United Arab Emirates deploy the most advanced cloud technologies and achieve the highest levels of security, availability, and resiliency,” said Prasad Kalyanaraman, vice president of Infrastructure Services at AWS. “With the launch of the AWS United Arab Emirates region, we are making it possible for even more customers to harness the power of the cloud to drive innovation across the UAE, while also investing in the local economy through job creation, training for highly sought-after technology skills, and education resources to further advance the UAE’s strategic priorities.”
“The opening of the AWS Middle East (UAE) Region is a significant milestone for Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates as a whole, reflecting our efforts to generate opportunities for all,” said His Excellency Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development. “It strengthens Abu Dhabi’s commitment to positioning itself as a leading digital economy by leveraging cutting-edge technology to support business growth. The enhanced cloud capabilities enabled by AWS are expected to generate significant advantages and efficiencies that can propel businesses to success and realize major economic benefits for the country.”
With the launch of the AWS Middle East (UAE) Region, AWS has 87 Availability Zones across 27 geographic regions, with announced plans to launch 21 more Availability Zones and seven more AWS Regions in Australia, Canada, India, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, and Switzerland. AWS Regions are composed of Availability Zones that place infrastructure in separate and distinct geographic locations. The AWS Middle East (UAE) Region consists of three Availability Zones and joins the existing AWS Middle East (Bahrain) Region, which opened in July 2019. Availability Zones are located far enough from each other to support customers’ business continuity, but near enough to provide low latency for high-availability applications that use multiple Availability Zones. Each Availability Zone has independent power, cooling, and physical security and is connected through redundant, ultra-low latency networks. AWS customers focused on high-availability can design their applications to run in multiple Availability Zones to achieve even greater fault tolerance. The launch of the AWS Middle East (UAE) Region will enable local customers with data residency requirements to store data securely in the UAE, while providing customers with even lower latency across the country.
AWS is planning to invest an estimated $5 billion (AED 20 billion) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the next 15 years through the new AWS Middle East (UAE) Region, which includes capital expenditures on the construction of data centers, operational expenses related to ongoing utilities and facility costs, and purchases of goods and services from regional businesses. The investment is also estimated to support an average of nearly 6,000 jobs annually during this time. These jobs will be part of the AWS supply chain in the UAE, including construction, facility maintenance, engineering, telecommunications, and jobs within the country’s broader economy. The construction and operation of AWS infrastructure in the United Arab Emirates is also estimated to add an estimated $11 billion (AED 41 billion) to the UAE’s GDP over the next 15 years.
“Abu Dhabi aims to enable transformative technology that delivers opportunities for businesses and residents alike,” said Eng. Abdulla Abdul Aziz AlShamsi, acting director general of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO). “Smart infrastructure is powering the thriving private and public sectors by opening new economic possibilities, fostering inclusive growth, and creating opportunities for collaboration across our innovation ecosystem. At ADIO, we are contributing to this through many valuable ecosystem-enabling partnerships that support Abu Dhabi’s position as a leader in the region’s digital revolution. The AWS Middle East (UAE) Region is a welcome addition to the country’s innovation ecosystem, helping to build vital capabilities for all.”
Customers and AWS Partners welcome the news of the AWS Middle East (UAE) Region
Organizations in the United Arab Emirates are among millions of active customers using AWS every month in more than 190 countries around the world, including tens of thousands of customers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). These customers leverage AWS to accelerate innovation, increase agility, and drive cost savings. Enterprises that have chosen AWS to become more agile and innovative include Al Ghurair Investments, Al Tayer Group, Aramex, Axiom Telecom, Flydubai, GIG Gulf (previously AXA Gulf), Gulf News, OSN, Shahid, Seera Group, Virgin Middle East, and many more. MENA public sector organizations are using AWS to drive cost savings, accelerate innovation, and better serve the citizens of the region. Examples of these organizations include Dubai Expo 2020, Egypt Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of Bahrain’s Ministries, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University, and the University of Bahrain. MENA startups building their businesses on top of AWS to scale rapidly and expand around the world include Alef Education, Anghami, Careem, Dubizzle, EKar, Fetchr, Haraj, Maestro Pizza, Property Finder, Sarwa, Souqalmal, StarzPlay, and Yallacompare.
Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) is the largest Islamic bank in the United Arab Emirates, and second largest Islamic bank in the world. “Dubai Islamic Bank has for many years championed the use of technology as a means for empowering customers and simplifying the overall banking experience,” said Obaid Al Shamsi, chief operating officer at DIB. “We pride ourselves in being a truly digitally intelligent bank that has been at the forefront of innovation and transformation, supporting the Nation’s leadership in realizing their vision for the UAE’s digital economy and establishing Dubai as a thriving hub of the global Islamic economy. Our digital transformation strategy is formulated with a clear focus on dissecting each step of the customer journey and removing any pain points for the customer. We’ve achieved this by taking a customer-centric approach and delivering convenient, fast and pleasant banking services within minutes rather than days. In line with this, we welcome the launch of the AWS Region in the UAE, which we expect will increase our agility and help accelerate the rate of innovation and experimentation with the latest technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.”
The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) is responsible for the implementation of health care policy in all areas of technical, material, and coordination with the Ministries of State, and cooperation with the private sector in health locally and internationally. Earlier this year, AWS signed a strategic memorandum of understanding (MOU) with MoHAP. “We welcome the launch of an AWS Region in UAE and look forward to the implementation of our agreement with AWS to assist MoHAP in modernizing the patient experience,” said Ali Juma AlAjme, director of the Digital Health Department at MoHAP. “Having the AWS Region in the United Arab Emirates will allow us to accelerate our digital transformation program and build skills and capabilities, driving clinical and technological innovation and further strengthening the country’s position as a global health care leader. Our collaboration with AWS enables us to connect 100% of care providers—public and private—to further enhance our data strategy in support of predictive and population health programs. We are working to identify current data sources, flows, and targeted outcomes from a data-driven approach to decision making.”
Al Ghurair Investment (AGI) is one of the largest diversified family business groups in the Middle East, with six key business units including foods and resources, properties, construction and services, energy, transportation, and ventures. In 2020, AGI began a Group-wide transformation journey, building on its greater than 60 year legacy to reshape for the future. A fundamental part of this business-driven transformation was to strengthen the company’s digital ecosystem, harnessing the power of AWS to drive information technology (IT) transformation and infrastructure modernization. “AWS is a strategic partner in our IT transformation journey as our preferred cloud service provider for all of the advanced digital technology stack,” said Marinda Sheahan, global vice president, IT at AGI. “We selected AWS for its rich data and analysis capabilities, and now our journey to become a data-driven organization is well underway. This will result in a cost savings of up to 25% over a period of three years. The new AWS Region in the UAE will accelerate our own objectives to become an agile, innovative, and flexible IT organization, in alignment with our Group’s purpose of ‘Enhancing Life.’”
GEMS Education is one of the largest private K–12 operators in the world, with more than 60 years of experience. In the MENA region, it owns and operates more than 60 schools, serving more than 130,000 students. “We have developed an all-in-one integrated edtech platform called LearnOS on AWS,” said Krishnan Gopi, group chief disruption officer at GEMS Education. “We are also building ANET, an advanced AI neural engine for education. The platform uses a host of advanced cloud technologies from AWS, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, to support teachers and create personalized learning experiences. We have automated student attendance using Amazon Rekognition, reducing 93% of the time spent in marking attendance. We have also developed an automated quiz generation and assessment platform using Amazon EC2 and Amazon SageMaker. The algorithms predict student year-end performance with up to 95% accuracy and recommends personalized reading materials. Having local data centers from AWS will enable us to accelerate our innovation while meeting requirements to host data in country.”
Alef Education is all in on AWS with customers in the U.S., UAE, and Indonesia, serving more than 4,000 schools, 690,000 students, and 40,000 teachers. Alef Education is a leading global education technology company that has developed the Alef Platform, which supports a suite of digital products and services to support students’ learning, on AWS. The platform uses AWS artificial intelligence services to personalize lesson plans and provide K-12 teachers with real-time feedback on students’ progress. “Leveraging AWS has brought us significant benefits in identifying and resolving some of the most critical issues in the education sector, as well as equipping the future generations to succeed in a world driven by technology,” said Geoffrey Alphonso, CEO at Alef Education. “AWS’s cloud computing technologies and features have allowed us to innovate faster, while also reducing IT costs by 30%, warehouse expenses by 50%, and video stream size by 300%. Furthermore, the new UAE data centers will aid us in better supporting our local customers, including the Ministry of Education, by meeting data residency requirements.”
YAP is a fast-growing regional financial super app that focuses on improving the digital banking experience. It functions as an independent app with no physical branches, making it the first of its kind in the UAE. “AWS has helped fuel our growth and enabled us to scale to become a leading regional fintech,” said Marwan Hachem, founder and CEO at YAP. “AWS gives us the elasticity to control costs as our user base grows to more than 130,000 users, and allows us to scale fast as we launch new markets, reducing the time to build and deploy complete infrastructure from months to weeks. As the UAE continues to pave the way for innovative companies like YAP, the new AWS Region will be a huge benefit for the expansion of the technology sector in the Middle East.”
Middle East-based AWS Partner Network (APN) Partners also welcomed the news of the launch of the AWS Middle East (UAE) Region.
The AWS Partner Network (APN) includes tens of thousands of independent software vendors (ISVs) and systems integrators (SIs) around the world. AWS Partners build innovative solutions and services on AWS, and the APN helps by providing business, technical, marketing, and go-to-market support to customers. AWS SIs, consulting partners, and ISVs help enterprise and public sector customers migrate to AWS, deploy mission-critical applications, and provide a full range of monitoring, automation, and management services for customers’ cloud environments.
AWS Advanced Tier Services Partner Bespin Global–Middle East and Africa (MEA) is a leading cloud consultancy and management firm helping businesses accelerate cloud adoption on AWS. Bespin Global provides cutting-edge solutions and consulting expertise, delivering service-level driven outcomes.
“ Launch of the AWS Region in the UAE is a key moment for the acceleration of digital transformation for our customers, particularly those in highly regulated industries such as government, financial services, energy, and health care,” said Mouteih Chaghlil, CEO of Middle East & Africa at Bespin Global. “Through our strategic partnership with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), we have been working closely with government entities to help them leverage the new AWS Region, including compliance with data residency requirements. We look forward to working with our customers across all industries to realize the full potential of the new AWS Region through our highly skilled team of cloud experts in Abu Dhabi.”
Zero&One is an AWS Partner helping organizations with complex technology projects across the MENA, specializing in migration and modernization. “Zero&One is growing because of the continued investment of AWS in the Middle East, and today’s launch of the new AWS Region is an important milestone for the industry,” said Ali El Kontar, founder and CEO at Zero&One. “As a company, we have been developing our resources and skill sets in response to the increasing demand for AWS services and recently became an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner. We also developed a strategic partnership with PwC Middle East, bringing together PwC’s expertise in digital consulting and Zero&One’s deep competencies to further empower our clients with comprehensive solutions to transform, manage, and execute cloud strategies and adoption.”
AWS Investment in the UAE
The new AWS Middle East (UAE) Region is the latest in AWS’s ongoing investments in the UAE. In 2018, AWS launched its first Amazon CloudFront edge locations in the UAE, offering customers in the UAE access to Amazon CloudFront and Amazon Route 53 services. Amazon CloudFront is a highly secure and programmable content delivery network that accelerates the delivery of data, videos, applications, and application programming interfaces (APIs) to users worldwide with low latency and high transfer speeds. That same year, AWS also launched AWS Direct Connect locations in the UAE, which enable customers to establish private connectivity between AWS and their data center, office, or colocation environment. This can reduce network costs, increase bandwidth throughput, and provide a more consistent network experience. AWS operations technicians and engineers ensure continued operation of AWS infrastructure.
Commitment to Sustainability
Amazon is committed to becoming a more sustainable business and reaching net-zero carbon across its operations by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement, as part of The Climate Pledge. Amazon co-founded The Climate Pledge and became its first signatory in 2019. As part of its Climate Pledge commitment, Amazon is on a path to power its operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025, five years ahead of the original 2030 target. Amazon is the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, and as of the end of 2021, reached 85% renewable energy across its business. See Amazon’s public methodology for more on its approach. Organizations that move compute workloads to AWS Cloud can benefit from the net effect of Amazon’s sustainability efforts to reduce their carbon footprint