Microsoft Corp. is expanding its partnership with Abu Dhabi’s Group 42, and plans to offer sovereign cloud infrastructure in the UAE.
The move will give the UAE public sector and regulated industries access to cloud and artificial intelligence features on Microsoft’s Azure, and help them comply with local privacy and regulatory requirements, the companies said.
“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.
Over time, the firms will look to bring industry-specific AI solutions on 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.
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 businesses range from cloud computing to driverless cars. Last year, it set up the $10 billion 42XFund to invest in technology companies across emerging markets.
Peng Xiao, Group CEO of G42, described the joint sovereign cloud and AI offering with Microsoft as a significant step forward in the company’s mission to accelerate innovation and drive meaningful technological advancements across key sectors. “This strategic collaboration with Microsoft isn’t just about technology; it’s about creating a holistic ecosystem for societal resilience and growth. By combining our respective expertise and shared forward-thinking approach, we aim to not only transform industries but also create positive economic opportunities and lasting impacts on the well-being of individuals, communities, and society as a whole.”