SAMENA Telecommunications Council conducted its annual Leaders’ Summit 2020 on July 9th as the world's first-of-its-kind digital remote-collaboration experience among global and regional industry leaders and decision-makers, spanning multiple geographies and time zones. Global bodies of renown, including special ICT development agencies of the United Nations, international financial institutions and inter-governmental economic cooperation organizations were among the most prominent thought-leadership contributors in the leadership congregation, virtually attended by hundreds of participants across the globe. The SAMENA Council Leaders' Summit 2020 also witnessed an exceptional representation of 15 members of the UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development.
Conducted from Dubai with the patronage and support of Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) of the UAE and a special guest-of-honor address by the UAE Minister of Tolerance & Co-existence, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the Leaders' Summit 2020 was 5G-powered in strategic collaboration with Huawei Technologies Middle East. Leaders and experts representing various industries ensured their remote participation through SAMENA Council's digital remote-collaboration platform. The Summit brought to light ways and means by which 5G adoption could be accelerated, and how 5G networks can support investments in various sectors such as transportation, health care, education, utilities, financial services, energy and others, while creating a new socio-economic momentum in all aspects of social and business environments in a meaningfully digitized, integrated, smart, and useful manner.
Synergistic and successful use of 5G across various industries as well as the provision of public-sector services require understanding some key benefits and real-life use-cases of 5G, with some having been lately tested in emergency situations in the wake of COVID-19. Many of these use cases for both consumers and enterprises were showcased during the Leaders' Summit 2020 via a live 5G exhibition, courtesy of Huawei. In so doing, the Leaders' Summit's focus, steered under the theme "5G + X: Harnessing 5G Across Industries for Investment Revival", was achieved not only through knowledge exchange but through physical demonstrations, backed by expert analyses on how 5G business models can and need to change to accommodate new digital adoption trends catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and how regulation must too evolve from traditional mindsets to new-age approaches.
The SAMENA Council Leaders' Summit 2020 proved that, in the Year 2020, amidst the COVID-19 crisis situation, global and regional leaders' collaboration is more crucial than ever before. Moreover, understanding 5G’s necessity and capabilities now require quick decision-making and action in achieving the next-generation of digital connectivity.
The presence of decision-makers and stakeholders, ranging from heads of state, heads of global bodies, leaders from the regional policy and regulatory circles, and CEOs from telecom and non-telecom private sectors joining into the conversations from across the world in the one-day remote leadership congregation demonstrated will among top decision-makers to collaborate and address requirements of the post-COVID world, having already entered the 4th industrial revolution. To this effect, the discuss agenda of the Leaders' Summit was highly relevant to global aspirations and globally agreed ICT developmental goals, regional trends and transforming socio-economic trends, innovations in technology, and shifting business processes and models. The Summit also reflected on the role of the Telecom Operators with decisive, timely, and resilient measures taken to control the pandemic, and it was agreed that, had 5G was already in place at the required scale, the response to pandemic management would have certainly been different and much stronger.
Keynotes from leaders emphasized industry issues that are more societal in nature than business, but which are integral to the industry dialogue, and to SDGs. Each of the speakers focused on a unique perspective, including on the priorities for the next decade; child protection online; developing markets and their ambitions and challenges in digital transformation, among others. Queen Silvia of Sweden's address, in particular, recognized the heroic role of Telecom Operators providing connectivity, and urged the Industry to recognize that not only do the industry players need to to directly help combat COVID, but to also help mitigate its numerous hidden consequences, including dangers that lurk in the digital space for children and young people.
Heads of regulatory authorities recognized that despite its drastic impacts, the prevailing pandemic has played a significant role in accelerating the understanding of the 4th Industrial Revolution, which requires 5G and allied technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and their use be leveraged in in providing unconventional solutions across all walks of human life and business activities.
As a routine part of its agenda, the Leaders' Summit 2020 also included diverse discussion panels and a dedicated Huawei 5G Ecosystem Conference, held for the third consecutive year during the Summit under the theme “Unleash 5G potential, build a better world”. Participants reviewed 5G ecosystem cooperation in the Middle East, and how 5G paired with complementary technologies such as cloud, AI, and AI-driven autonomous and BVLOS commercial drone applications, can inspire new vertical industry applications. Today that ranges from improving SME competitiveness to the digitization of oil & gas operations in the Middle East and globally, all of which boost economic potential by enhancing industrial processes and productivity.
Bocar BA, CEO & and Board Member, following an overwhelming response from the Industry on the timeliness, agenda, and mode of execution of the SAMENA Council Leaders' Summit, has stated: "In the wake of acceleration in 5G readiness as we witnessed during the Summit and new innovative developments that are already happening, and given the anticipated role 5G will play in advancing other industries and new growth streams, thereby catalyzing new economic development opportunities across established and nascent market segments around the globe, SAMENA Council's Leaders' Summit 2020 has served as the new destination for the digital space players and decision-makers to make accelerated progress in digital cooperation-building and digitization for the next decade. I present my gratitude to each leader for their gracious presence and inspirational messages, and to each speaker and moderator for their invaluable contributions. The contributions made during this Leaders' Summit by each global body, by each regional entity, and by every individual active in our thriving ICT Industry will be essential for our future success."
This year, as the world's first virtual congregation of its kind, centered on and powered by 5G and allied technologies, the SAMENA Council Leaders' Summit 2020 served as true representation of the world's most developed and developing digital economies. Leaders' Summit demonstrated both global and regional ICT stakeholders' commitment to work together and diverse market representation, with leaders representing the UAE, Saudi Arabia, China, UK, USA, Sweden, Pakistan, Egypt, Russia, Turkey, Malaysia, Switzerland, Kuwait, France, Oman, Bahrain, Belgium, Ireland, Colombia, South Korea, Ireland, among other nations, sharing their experiences and expertise as well as future visions for realizing 5G+X, where "X" stands for all infrastructure and cloud-based allied technologies and all industries and sectors that will be crucial to creating a sustainable 5G ecosystem and, in turn, for revitalizing the economies as well as catalyzing new financing models and investments.
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