Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced plans to open data centres in the Middle East by 2019 as it looks to begin infrastructure development in the region.

The move signals the creation of the AWS Middle East (Bahrain) region, which will initially contain three availability zones. There are also plans to create an AWS edge network location in the United Arab Emirates by early 2018. In total, this will bring AWS’ worldwide points of presence tally to 78.

AWS currently has 44 of these availability zones, in 16 regions across the world. According to Amazon, these zones consist of one or more discrete data centres, each with redundant power, networking and connectivity.

Amazon has already made moves towards increasing its presence in the Middle East. AWS opened offices in the region in January this year and has made efforts to bring education, training, and startup support to the area.

Part of its commitment in the Middle East is to pursue an environmentally friendly development policy. AWS states that part of its motivation for launching the new Bahrain region was because of the local government’s focus on renewable energy, including a proposal to build a new solar power facility to meet AWS’s power requirements.

AWS CEO Andy Jassy commented on the launch: “Some of the most gratifying parts of operating AWS over the last 11 years have been helping thousands of new companies get started, empowering large enterprises to reinvent their customer experiences, and allowing governments and academic institutions to innovate for citizens again. We look forward to making this happen across the Middle East.”

According to Amazon, its decision to move into the Middle East is popular with government officials in the area. Many of the Gulf states have ambitious plans, including the Saudi Vision 2030, UAE Vision 2021, and Bahrain Vision 2030, and AWS believes cloud technology will help them achieve these plans.

Bahrain’s Crown Prince, HRH Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, who is also first deputy Prime Minister and chairman of the Bahrain Economic Development Board said: “Today’s announcement is a significant moment for Bahrain and the region.

“For the Kingdom, the expansion of regional cloud capacity builds upon a business environment that is already driving innovation and entrepreneurship, using technology to accelerate economic diversification in Bahrain.”

AWS has made significant investments globally in the past year, including a major site in Dublin.