By Adveith Nair
Microsoft Corp. is expanding its partnership with Abu Dhabi’s G42, with plans to develop artificial intelligence technology across sectors and offer cloud infrastructure in the United Arab Emirates.
The move will give the UAE public sector and some other industries access to cloud and AI features on Microsoft’s Azure, and help them comply with local privacy and regulatory requirements, the companies said.
Over time, the firms will look to bring industry-specific AI solutions to significant projects, including potentially the COP28 climate summit, set to be held in Dubai later this year. The partnership will see Microsoft expand its Azure service in the UAE through Khazna Data Centers, a joint venture company between G42 and Emirates Telecom.
“With data privacy, security, and compliance as our core priorities, we have a unique opportunity to help organizations responsibly innovate,” Microsoft Chief Commercial Officer Judson Althoff said.
The move will help G42 drive meaningful technological advancements across key sectors, its Chief Executive Officer Peng Xiao said. The company has a wide range of businesses, including AIQ — a joint venture with Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. — that uses AI and machine learning to optimize processes for Adnoc and the wider industry.
Chaired by National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, G42 has been at the forefront of Abu Dhabi’s push into AI. It’s partnering with Cerebras Systems Inc., which recently built the first of nine AI supercomputers as an alternative to systems using Nvidia Corp. technology. And last month, the firms unveiled what they called “the world’s highest quality Arabic Large Language Model.”
The Abu Dhabi-based company’s units span everything from cloud computing to driverless cars. Last year, it set up the $10 billion 42XFund to invest in technology companies across emerging markets.