AWS has announced plans to invest $5.3bn to build an infrastructure region in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The investment consists of two innovation centres tasked with the upskilling of students and local developers. Once completed, the centres will store AWS customer content in Saudi Arabia, strengthening the presence of the cloud services giant across the Middle East region.

In addition, the AWS region will include three Availability Zones, or data centres that place and connect the company’s cloud infrastructure across different locations.

“Today’s announcement supports the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s digital transformation with the highest levels of security and resilience available on AWS cloud infrastructure, helping serve fast-growing demand for cloud services across the Middle East,” said Prasad Kalyanaraman, vice-president of Infrastructure Services at AWS. “The new AWS Region will enable organisations to unlock the full potential of the cloud and build with AWS technologies like compute, storage, databases, analytics and artificial intelligence, transforming the way businesses and institutions serve their customers.”

Saudi officials are looking to step up investment in technology and finance as the kingdom slowly diversifies its economy away from fossil fuels.

Late last year, the government in Riyadh launched a 30-year tax relief package to help businesses establish their regional headquarters there. The initiative allows companies to pay no corporate income and withholding taxes for three decades in the country “from the day they obtained their regional headquarters (RHQ) licence”.

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“The RHQ Program is a joint initiative of MISA and the Royal Commission for Riyadh City,” read a Saudi Press Agency statement. “The programme aims to attract multinational companies to set up their RHQ in Saudi Arabia and position the Kingdom as the leading commercial, industrial and investment hub for the MENA [Middle East and North Africa] region by offering a range of benefits and premium support services that complement the Kingdom’s globally competitive value proposition.”

For AWS, news of the Saudi Arabia development comes on the back of rapid expansion of its global cloud network. Last month, the company said it would invest $5bn (84.82bn pesos) in new data centres in Mexico, while in January, it pledged another $15.24bn (Y2.26trn) in Japan’s cloud computing infrastructure.

Speaking about AWS’ plans in the region, Abdullah Alswaha, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology, added: “This cloud region demonstrates a firm commitment to research, innovation and empowering entrepreneurs to achieve prosperity for our region and the world.”