Qatar’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is set to experience a digital transformation through a new partnership with Meta, formerly known as Facebook.
Qatar and Facebook’s parent company Meta signed a cooperation agreement on Wednesday in an effort of transforming Qatar into a digitally-enabled economy.
Qatar’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and Meta will work together to help small and medium sized businesses in Qatar with the digital transformation.
The ministry aims to cultivate a human-centric concept for the digital economy and society, “making digital transformation a fully inclusive and transformative process for all businesses,” Qatar News Agency reported.
Meta has launched a virtual hub in the Gulf country for such businesses with training webinars on digital marketing.
The content provided will entail training on how to creatively engage audience with Instagram, start with Meta Business Suite, become creative with advertisements and reach an audience with personalised advertisements amongst others.
“The strategic partnership with Meta will complement and strengthen Qatar’s efforts in supporting our small and medium enterprises in their digital transformation journeys which is extremely important for the economic and social development of the country,” said Reem Al Mansoori, Assistant Undersecretary of Digital Society Development at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
The programme is backed by Qatar-based partners, namely Aspire Zone Foundation, the Sport Accelerator, Qatar Science and Technology Park, Qatar Financial Centre and Qatar Development Bank (QDB).
Qatar is on a gradual transition towards a service economy.
According to statistics, in 2011, industry accounted for 73.21% of the gross domestic product (GDP) while services amounted to 28.56%. In 2020, industry made up 52.33% while services held 52.74%.
“Our partnership with Meta is in line with the digital transformation endeavors taken by QDB, especially now that we have accelerated our digital solutions and e-commerce processes on a wider level due to the COVID-19 outbreak,” said acting CEO of QDB Abdulrahman Hesham Al Suwaidi.
However, the agreement comes as Meta continues to face criticism for its direct role in sharing its users’ personal information with companies in return for cash.
Meta’s controversial role
Known as Facebook at the time, CEO Mark Zuckerberg began his congressional inquisition in April 2018 with a public apology for a privacy scandal that had angered social media users.
He opened his remarks before the Senate Commerce and Judiciary committees by claiming responsibility for his company’s failure to prevent Cambridge Analytica, a data-mining firm affiliated with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, from extracting personal information from 87 million users to attempt to meddle in the 2016 US presidential elections.
Zuckerberg was also hesitant to disclose how his platform was used by Russian-backed actors to sway the election results.
The media giant has shared access to users’ data with other tech firms, including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Netflix, and Spotify, according to the New York Times.