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History

Headquartered in the UAE, SAMENA Council was launched in 2006 by Thomas W. Wilson who also served as the Chief Executive Officer & Executive Managing Director until 2012. The Council was initially led by Dr. Muhammad Ali Al Wohaibi, then-CEO of Oman Telecom. Subsequently, SAMENA Council was chaired by Orange Jordan Telecom Group’s CEO Mr. Mickael Ghossein and then the group CEO of Saudi Telecom Company, Eng. Saud Al Daweesh. Elected in 2011, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Isa Al Khalifa, Group CEO of Batelco served as a chairman of the SAMENA Council’s Board of Directors until September 2013 and was succeeded by Dr. Nasser Marafih, then-Group CEO of Ooredoo. In 2016, the Board of Directors elected Dr. Khaled Biyari, Group CEO of STC, to lead SAMENA Council.

The Board of Directors of the Council appointed Mr. Bocar A. BA as CEO in 2013. Mr. BA has been with the SAMENA Council since its early foundation. The SAMENA Council is now in its next phase of organizational development. Since its inception in 2006, the Council has made major strides in representing the interests of telecom operators and in playing the role of the agenda-setter. Today, the Council is considered to be the leading platform to provide a unified voice and collaborative approach for leading operators and service providers in SAMENA region. The goal is to position the telecom operators and service providers to be the partner of choice in driving region-wide digitization programs and in realizing socio-economic developments in regional economies.

The SAMENA Council started its Policy Board ("Policy Board") in 2011 with the main purpose to guide, advice and adopt, strategic positions on issues arising within the information and communication technologies ("ICT") industry, both regionally and globally, for the benefit of SAMENA Council and its members. For over 6 years now, the SAMENA Council’s scheduled meetings, internal committees, and an all-inclusive Web portal, together, provides companies, professionals, regulatory authorities and other stakeholders of the industry, means for seeking and suggesting solutions on mutually beneficial and collaborative fronts.

With an expanding member portfolio, the Council is quickly securing strong footing in the region and beyond. In June 2012, the SAMENA Council was officially selected as a member of the newly formed Arab Multi stakeholders Advisory Group (AMAG) for the Arab Internet Governance Forum. The advisory group’s mandate is to set the theme for the Arab Internet Governance Forum (AIGF) in a way that maintains transparency and inclusion. SAMENA Council collaborates with leading non-profit international organizations, including the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) the European Telecom Network Operators’ Association (ETNO) and FTTH Council among others.
 
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