SAMENA Telecommunications 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. On February 27, 2018, in Barcelona, STC Group was again elected to chair the Board of Directors under the leadership of STC GCEO Eng. Nasser Al Nasser. On February 6, 2020, in Bahrain, STC Group was once again elected to chair the Board of Directors and Batelco was again elected to vice-chair the Board of Directors under the leadership of Batelco. For the first time, in 2020, Satellite Operators received representation within the Council with the election of Arabsat to the Board, led by its CEO Mr. Mr. Khalid A. Balkheyour.
Since its inception in 2006, the Council has made major strides in representing the interests of Operators and the Industry, and in playing the role of the agenda-setter. Today, the Council is considered is the leading platform to provide a unified voice, addressing business and investment sustainability challenges to support the Private Sector, and to continually enable and foster intra and inter-industry collaboration within the SA-ME-NA region. The goal is to position the Operators as the critical Enabler and Partner of choice in driving government efforts and region-wide digitization programs, and in realizing socio-economic development across the region’s economies.
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. Today, SAMENA Council collaborates with leading international bodies, including the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the World Economic Forum (WEF), the UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development (BBCOM), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and actively pursues active engagement with regional bodies that represent UN Member States, such as the League of Arab States.