SAMENA Summit 2018 focuses on building Middle East's digital economy

SAMENA Council Leaders Summit 2018 002SAMENA Council Leaders' Summit 2018. (Image source: SAMENA Council)The South Asia-Middle East-North Africa (SAMENA) region’s annual leadership event, the SAMENA Telecommunications Council's Leaders' Summit 2018, has discussed the importance of enabling telecom operators and regulatory authorities to collaborate and co-operate with each other to achieve mutual successes

Held under the patronage of the UAE’s Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA), the event was organised by Huawei Technologies and co-Sponsored by Ericsson, Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (Du), Alfa, Sudatel Group, Numbase Group and Airspan.

Core discussions of the Summit focused on understanding the dimensions of a sustainable regional digital economy in view of the Middle East's preparation toward 5G, digital development goals and conducting a preparatory stakeholder dialogue to address complexities of the regulatory environment in the wake of advancements in networks and new digital platforms.

In his welcome note, Bocar BA, CEO and board member of SAMENA Council, focused on “Building the Middle East's Digital Economy” as an accumulation of earlier efforts to look into the future, and how data-driven economics is shaping up and will impact the future decisions with regard to policies, investments and stakeholder collaboration.

While Telecom Operators and other digital ecosystem players including regulators, seek the digital communications ecosystem's sustainability, focusing on digital services, data regulation, spectrum resources and addressing challenges relating to financial obligations and excessive industry fees, the event provided a direction that leads toward building a sustainable digital economy in the region.

At a time when regional efforts are required for the harmonisation of spectrum for 5G development, on setting rules for ensuring data privacy, developing cross-border agreements on the flow and management of data, and to align national digital transformation priorities, it has become essential that telecom operators be enabled by regulators to overcome constraints, especially with respect to cross-border data flows, favourable taxation policies, reduction in capital and operational expenditure, spectrum license durations and costs.

Huawei Technologies ME's president Charles Yang, GSMA's director general Mats Granryd and SAMENA Council's chairman of the board Nasser Al Nasser reflected on how the future is becoming transformational and how preparation for 5G roll-out paradigm shift, which may transpire in multiple phases and quantum-computing capability are paving the path for AI and an utterly new generation of digital experiences. Nasser referred to telecom operators as the enablers of the digital economy and how operators are continually monitoring their pace and progress with respect to disruptive advancements, new dynamics of the markets, national aspirations and to globally agreed goals among nations, to help materialise a sustainable digital economy.

The Leaders' Summit 2018's guest of honour, the UAE's minister of tolerance, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, emphasised to stakeholders of the digital communications industry that Leaders' Summit 2018 was an especially significant event as it reflected on the efforts that each stakeholder is exerting in order to positively impact the society. As digital technology accelerates globalisation, new dimensions in the link between tolerance and telecommunications have emerged. The Industry thus must ensure that tolerance, truthfulness, and integrity prevail as “Digital life is life of truth.”

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