Press Release

Press Release

The Middle East's Digital Economy to Come Under Focus at SAMENA Council's Leaders' Summit 2018

UAE, April 22,2017 - SAMENA Telecommunications Council is gearing up for its annual Leaders’ Summit, to be held on May 3rd, 2018, with the patronage of Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) of the UAE. Hosted for the fifth consecutive year by Huawei, a leading global ICT solutions provider, Co-Sponsored by Ericsson Middle East, Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (Du), Alfa (managed by Orascom TMT), Sudatel Group, Numbase Group and Airspan. The one-day leaders-only event is the seminal summit for materializing private and government partnerships and collaboration within the ICT industry of the region. The Summit will congregate leaders and influencers from within the telecommunications industry across South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia, Europe and beyond.

“Our focus during Leaders' Summit 2018 is on understanding requirements and multiple dimensions in building the region's digital economy, and how such an economy would be made sustainable and, equally so, how best telecom operators can play a decisive role in shaping up regional, digitally-enabled socio-economics. We are thrilled to get so many confirmations from both Private and Public sector leaders, wanting to be an active part of this year's leaders' congregation in Dubai. This year, I not only anticipate witness successful and goal-setting discussions at the Summit but a much bigger representation of geographies from around the world," stated Bocar BA, CEO & Board Member of SAMENA Council.

“As ICT becomes a general purpose technology that improves lives of consumers and increases efficiency of businesses, ICT infrastructure becomes a key to unlocking economic growth and 5G is the main driver of this transformation,” said Charles Yang, President of Huawei Middle East. “Huawei is ushering in the 5G era by laying the groundwork for new networks, developing 5G commercial devices, and nurturing an ecosystem of telco organizations, vendors, and consumers prepared to seize new opportunities. The arrival of 5G will support national plans and accelerate digital transformation, and the SAMENA Council conference is a great occasion to gather ICT industry leaders to discuss challenges and opportunities on the road to 5G.”

On the sidelines of the SAMENA Council Leader’s Summit, Huawei will organize three sub-forums, with the first is “5G is Now..” focusing on the imminent arrival of 5G and its’ support to national transformation plans across the region, in addition to the big role 5G will play in the digital transformation journey. Huawei will also present the latest edition of its annual Global Connectivity Index (GCI), a global study that benchmarks where a country stands within its journey to connectivity, and aims to deliver insightful research for governments looking to push forth a digital economy transformation. The 2018 edition of GCI will feature 80 countries, including several in the Middle East. Huawei’s third sub-forum will focus on All-Cloud Transformation in the 5G era.

Mr. Marwan Hayek, Chairman and CEO of Alfa said: “We are taking part in the SAMENA Council Leaders Summit after accomplishing the 1st 5G Trial in Lebanon in April and achieving a record speed of 25 Gigabits/sec, the highest throughput in Lebanon’s history. We believe that this breakthrough is part of our commitment to be leading on the technology side as well as investing and mobilizing all our human capital and network assets to convey the human side of telco in all our operations and contribute to the happiness of the people”. Hayek added: “This gathering is an excellent opportunity to align with all SAMENA Council partners on how to move the ICT Industry further and explore ways on how we can build a future of telecom where humanity is in our core business and where we strive to improve lives and support economies and national development through technology”.

The SAMENA Council's Leaders’ Summit is an annual leadership event, encompassing private and government sector leaders' gathering, various bi-lateral "closed-door" meetings, and panel discussions, held among stakeholders in a world-class setting. To be held under the theme “Building the Digital Economy of the Middle East", Leaders' Summit 2018 will build on past discussions, centered around enabling a true, regional digital economy. The Summit's aim is to encourage industry leaders to consider an incentivized, stakeholder-inclusive business environment where digitization, fifth-generation technologies and regulatory frameworks, and new digital service platforms would define the rules of the game, and would determine how best the value of digital is realized.

“Undoubtedly, SAMENA Council can be described as a unique platform for sharing knowledge, know-how and expertise in the ICT sector. It is a distinguish tool that provides solutions for the telecom issues . It is a forum of collaboration, advocacy and communication. I do believe that SAMENA Council is now a leading entity of unified message and clear objectives for all the members in the region. This annual gathering of Leaders’ Summit is a proof of success of what SAMENA Council is doing across the year. The organization of such conferences, seminars and workshops is so impactful. It opens windows to international spheres and let the Voice of SAMENA Council heard globally. I’m honored, this year, to be elected member of SAMENA Council Board of Directors, which is a huge responsibility to be assumed by my Company to convey, with efficiency, the important messages of this Council” stated Mr. Tarig Hamza Zainelabdin, CEO of Sudatel.

One of the most anticipated ICT thought leadership and change-makers' events in the region, the Leaders’ Summit will further corroborate SAMENA Telecommunications Council's role at the forefront of the campaign for building digital economies, unifying the telecom industry voice, helping optimize the collaboration between operators and regulators and ICT industry service providers towards making a positive impact in the region’s socio-economic development.

Various regional leaders representing network operators, regulatory authorities, ICT service providers, global ICT leading agencies, and policy bodies from Asia and Europe have confirmed their participation in Leaders' Summit 2018, including international bodies such as the ITU and GSMA.

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About SAMENA Telecommunications Council

SAMENA Telecommunications Council is South Asia - Middle East - North Africa (SAMENA) region’s premier industry association of telecom operators and service providers. SAMENA Council voices network operators’ issues and needs to regulators, policymakers, and international institutions. The most renowned regional telecom operators, including Saudi Telecom, Etisalat, Batelco Group, du, Viva Kuwait, Orange - MEA, Zain Group, Telecom Egypt, Sudatel, Omantel, and Alfa (managed by Orascom TMT), among other leading operators and technology companies, are a part of the Council’s membership. SAMENA Council is a sector development partner to the private and the public sectors, and empowers stakeholders to communicate together and addressing the most pressing industry issues, in order to help create a sustainable business environment for the industry, and to accelerate digital development in regional economies.

As an international non-profit organization, SAMENA Council is contributing to the understanding of cross-stakeholder priorities within the public and the private sectors. The Council has created a unique regional position as the regulatory reach and operator advocacy organization, promoting institution-level engagements with leading private and public-sector organizations.

SAMENA Council was founded in 2006. In February 2018 in Barcelona, Saudi Telecom Company, represented by Eng. Nasser Al Nasser as its GCEO, was re-elected to chair the Board of Directors of SAMENA Council.