8th April 2021
LIVE Broadcast from

Atlantis, The Palm
Dubai, UAE

Leaders' Summit 2021

“Championing Digital Economic Growth from Policy to Reality”

Leaders' Summit 2021 will welcome Chairmen and CEOs from the private sector, and top decision-makers from various regulatory authorities, spanning multiple geographies. It will also include participation of global leaders and entities focused on institutionalizing and fostering cross-sector collaboration, making the Leaders' Summit 2021 the year's premier virtual destination for leadership, dialogue, demonstration, and for defining future policy actions, as the world embraces new norms in socialization and business conduct. To this effect, the Summit may help support new socio-economic growth through dialogue on policy adaptation and prompt business-enabling regulatory measures that reduce gaps between investment and business profits.

Key Objectives:
1 Contributing toward propelling digital-led economic growth to put life back on track after the pandemic, by identifying growth opportunities for businesses across industries/sectors, in-line with actual B2C & B2B technology requirements, 2 Driven by policy adaptation and prompt business-enabling regulatory measures, sharing insights on how the gap between investment in new technological innovations to support socio-economic growth and business profits can be reduced.


Some of the Leaders participating in Leaders' Summit 2021

Summit Agenda

“Championing Digital Economic Growth from Policy to Reality”
  • Morning Session
    09:00 AM - 11:45 AM
  • Afternoon Session
    11:45 AM - 05:15 PM
  • Evening Session
    05:15 PM - 08:00 PM
9:00 AM09:50 AM

Leaders’ Plenary

Keynote Messages from SAMENA Council and Government Leaders

Mr. Bocar A. BA
SAMENA Council
Mr. Olayan Al Wetaid
stc Group
Saudi Arabia
H.E. Mr. Hamad Al Mansouri
Director General
Mr. Charles Yang
Huawei ME
H.E. Mr. Omar Al Olama
Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence
H.E. Dr. Mohamed Al Tamimi
Saudi Arabia
H.E. Mr. Omar Mansoor Ansari
H.E. Mr. Amir Azeem Bajwa
09:50 AM11:00 AM
Session 1: Intelligent Connectivity

A World Driven by AI, IoT, and Cloud Communication in the 5G Environment

Service-Centric Network Transformation as a Necessity for Synergistic Digital Economic Sustainability

Mr. Rob Van Dale
Partner – CMT

Mr. Amr Eid
Mr. Mohamed Al Kaff
Mr. Paul Michael Scanlan
Eng. Salman Al Badran
Saudi Arabia
Intelligent Connectivity is the combination of high-speed, low latency 5G networks, cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI), and the linking of billions of devices through the Internet of Things (IoT). In the intelligent connectivity vision, the digital information collected by the machines, devices and sensors making up the Internet of Things is analyzed and contextualized by AI technologies and presented to users in a richer way. This may both improve decision-making and allow delivery of personalized experiences to the users, resulting in a richer interaction between people and the environment surrounding them. It marks the beginning of a new era and is estimated to impact in particular the areas of transportation and logistics, industrial and manufacturing operations, healthcare, and public safety & security. While many challenges and uncertainties remain to be addressed in the areas of maturity of technologies, standardization, regulation and more before the expected benefits can be realized, the prevailing health crisis has improved the uncertainty around the usefulness to and real needs of the industry and society of intelligent connectivity.
Key questions:
  • How do you define intelligent connectivity, and which priority industries are currently most interested in digital transformation, thus benefitting from intelligent connectivity?
  • From the perspective of your industry, what are the key factors for pursuing intelligent connectivity?
  • How to achieve these key factors from your side and what are the positive outcomes that you foresee after they’re implemented ?
  • What are your suggestions for various public-sector and private-sector stakeholders from the ICT Industry as well as in your own industry or sector, in order to achieve intelligent connectivity for greater socio-economic value creation?
11:00 AM11:30 AM
Session 2: Technology Demo

Innovations by Huawei

Digital Ecosystem Exhibition: Innovation for the future of connectivity

In conversation with
Mr. Wang Tao
Executive Director, Chairman of the Investment Review Board

LIVE from China
Darwin Hall - The DigiTelligent Forest of the ICT Industry

Mr. Bob Cai
Chief Marketing Officer
Huawei CNBG

A prospering digital ecosystem for business success and digital economic growth

This track is about show-casing innovation. Any new technologies, solutions, and impact being realized through the use of those technologies and solutions, would be great value addition.
11:30 AM11:45 AM

Coffee Break

11:45 AM12:45 PM
Session 3: Global Action

Global Collaboration in the Final Decade of Action

Setting New Milestones in Public-Private Cooperation, Digital Connectedness, and Sustainable Development

Special Message

“Road to Addis Ababa – 2021”

H.E. Mr. Houlin Zhao
International Telecommunication

Roundtable Chair
Ms. Doreen Bogdan-Martin
BDT Director

Shaikh Talal Al Mamari
Mr. Hou Tao
Global Vice President
Huawei Group
Mr. Zarrar Hasham Khan
Globally, information and communications industries have proved themselves to be vital resources for reducing the social and economic impacts during the pandemic. Nonetheless, COVID-19 has caused the greatest worldwide social and economic disruption since the Second World War.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) sit at the heart of the international development agenda and are an urgent call for action by all countries and by all stakeholders. The world approached an unfortunate anniversary – 1 year has passed since the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of connectivity and why now more than ever connecting every person will help accelerate the global socio-economic recovery that must follow after the pandemic and ultimately help achieve the SDGs.
Governments and ICT stakeholders are all coming to understand that COVID-19 will not prove a short-lived crisis – even with successful vaccines and their global distribution - it is increasingly clear that COVID-19 has been a uniquely powerful game-changer, with digital connectivity now at the top of every nation’s agenda. It has been both a catalyst to change legacy processes and effect cultural change as well as an accelerant to online trends that may have taken a decade without its arrival. There is also a clear recognition of a greater need for collaboration at regional and global level.
Generally, connectivity providers – including but not limited to fixed operators, mobile network operators (MNOs), satellite providers, municipal networks, and Internet service providers have done an excellent job in the pandemic. Networks have held together; outages have been few and small in number; broadband speeds may have decreased for a time given certain market features and pre-emptive measures adopted by operators to ensure continuity of service on their networks. Overall, however, connectivity providers have offered resilient services during a challenging 2020.
We now need to face the “recovery phase” to address the digital inclusion agenda of governments worldwide, looking at how partnerships with the private sector and other stakeholders can help drive this important agenda. There is now an urgent need to create strong collaborative partnerships for the future.
Addressing the SDGs requires significant investment and financing. ITU estimates that US$ 428 billion are required to connect the remaining 3 billion people to the Internet by 2030. New effective and impactful ways for funds allocation and administration are needed. Achieving the SDGs cannot be done in isolation. It requires a global partnership of multiple stakeholders. How can partnerships be made more effective for advancing connectivity and achieving the SDGs?
The 2021 World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-21) is a unique opportunity to develop innovative approaches and new models of collaboration for connectivity and digital solutions in this final Decade of Action to achieve the SDGs. WTDC-21 will be a landmark digital development conference and a unique opportunity for the global community, and the private sector in particular, to develop innovative approaches and forge new models of collaboration to overcome digital development challenges and accelerate connectivity and digital solutions in the final Decade of Action to achieve the SDGs.
This session will look at critical questions ICT policy makers, regulators and the private sector need to address in order to fast forward digital connectivity for sustainable development.
12:45 PM01:45 PM

5G Innovation & Practices in Vertical Industries

Commercial Use and Real-life Applications of 5G

5G Progress around the Region

Middle East
5G, Championing Digital Transformation in Vertical Industries

Mr. You Qianwen
VP, Middle East Region & Head, ME
Market & Solutions Sales

5G Dedicated Access and B2B Business Development

Mr. Meshari Al Hamad
General Manager
Sales & Account Management

Saudi Arabia
B2B Market DIA Service Opportunities & Insights

Mr. Wang Su
VP, Carrier Network Business Group Marketing
Mr. Saurabh Verma
Director of ICT Consulting
Frost & Sullivan

Technology in Action

5G for Industry Digital Transformation

Mr. Amjad A. Hafez
Saudi Arabia

5G Drives Smart Port Upgrades

Mr. Xu Mengqiang
China Mobile Ningbo

5G Enables Digitization of Coal Mines

Mr. Wang HaiGang
Xinyuan Coal Mine
Shanxi Coal Mine
01:45 PM 02:00 PM

Coffee Break

02:00 PM 03:00 PM
Session 4: Journalistic Insights

High-level Media Interviews

Multilateralism, Cybersecurity, and Disruptions in Digital Supply Chain

LIVE Investigative Discussion

Ms. Catherine Fiankan-Bokonga
UN Senior Correspondent & VP Swiss Press Club
Mr. Iyad Dirany
Sr. Journalist Al-Iktissad Wal-Aamal
Prof. Jovan Kurbalija
Head of the Geneva Internet Platform Author of: An Introduction to Internet
Dr. Shamika Sirimanne
Director Technology & Logistics Division
Mr. Ilhan Bagoren
Co-Founder & Chairman, Telenity
Board Member, GTENT

Q&A Session with Media

The global goal for “Multilateralism” is an essential pillar of worldwide cooperation on digital development and the Digital Economy. In the post-pandemic 5G-world, regional policy visions of ICT Development, in which the private sector has a central and multi-dimensional role, should be communicated to a global audience in a world-class media environment, showcased during the Leaders' Summit 2021. Thus the session involves bringing in a pro-collaboration and pro-technology enablement perspective on the global need for revitalizing the notion and practice of multilateral engagement among nations, key stakeholders, the ICT Industry, as well as any/all players sharing the digital space.
Our objectives:
SAMENA Council, recognizing the importance of Media and the need for outreach to a wider audience, intends to focus on "Multilateralism" in the context of Cybersecurity/Digital Trust-building, and potential Disruptions in the Digital Supply Chain in case multilateral practices are not adopted. Digital Supply Chain--ranging from availability and access to key raw materials to expertise, etc--is ever more critical to global "Universal Digital Access" goals and for improving the human condition. We need to address all those challenges that could compromise normal flow of digital supplies all around the world.
03:00 PM03:10 PM

Guest-of-Honor: Special Message

The UAE National Vision

H.H. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan
UAE Cabinet Member & Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence
United Arab Emirates
03:15 PM 04:00 PM
Session 5: Cross-sector Synergy

Digital Inclusion for Fostering Innovation Economics

Inclusive Cross-Sector Participation toward Greater Value Creation with EDISON Alliance

Ms. Isabelle Mauro
Head of Digital
Communications Industry
World Economic Forum
Ms. Rima Qureshi
Chief Strategy Officer & Executive Vice President
Mr. Alexandru Badulescu
Global Head of Account and Digital Payout
Western Union
Ms. Vinita Sethi
Chief Public Affairs Officer
Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd
Mr. Yves N. Iradukunda
Permanent Secretary, Govt of Rwanda
Ministry of ICT and Innovation
The rapid transition to universal, affordable access to 21st century digital infrastructure is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. This transition equally applies to traditionally non-ICT sectors, particularly to those having direct impact on societal well-being, including healthcare, education, and finance. In response to the complex and urgent challenge of ensuring affordable access to digital infrastructure and digital communications technologies, the need for which has been further highlighted by the Covid-19 crisis, the World Economic Forum has launched The EDISON Alliance to mobilize a global movement in order to prioritize digital inclusion as a foundation for achieving progress on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
The Alliance, in which SAMENA Council is a participant, is the first-of-its kind cross-stakeholder participation platform, designed to accelerate and foster unprecedented collaboration among the ICT community and other critical sectors of the economy by engaging with leaders from the Public and Private sectors to elevate digital inclusion through the cultivation and cross-pollination of ideas, adoption of best practices, and by scaling up and replicating action-led initiatives.

This session aims to address the following questions:

  1. How can we collectively drive the systemic transformation needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and ensure all citizens participate in the digital economy?
  2. What policies, practices and partnerships are needed to drive digitization and connect the unconnected?
  3. How can we foster deeper collaboration across the connectivity ecosystem and essential sectors to address fundamental societal goals such as education, healthcare or financial inclusion?
  4. What are some leading approaches toward aligning policy and investments to steer resources toward digital adoption and utilization?
  5. In the 5G era, operating in the new business environment, how can Telecom Operators better play their role in creating strong cross-sector synergies by leveraging advanced technologies?
04:00 PM 04:15 PM

Coffee Break

04:15 PM05:15 PM
Session 6: Back-to-Business

Thriving in the Digital Application Ecosystem

5G+X Innovations: X-Tech Synergy with 5G

Mr. Philippe Defraigne
Cullen International
Mr. Manish Vyas
Mr. Maxim Nartov
Mr. Fahem Al Nuaimi
Mr. Amir Gibreen
Regulatory Affairs VP
stc Group
Saudi Arabia
Mr. Matt Cuson
Vice President
Corporate Marketing
Minerva Networks
Mr. Salim Omar
Regional Sales Director,
Cloud & AI Business Group
Energy, Utilities, CSP & Transportation
The Back to Business Session compliments the Intelligent Connectivity and the Demonstration sessions, to be held earlier during the Summit, and the objective is to showcase innovation in-play across different sectors, and in especially those that are important to economic recovery and societal normalcy.
SAMENA Council’s aim in this session is to discuss business enablement and continuity, education, remote collaboration, and applications and digital services that can foster accelerated adoption of 5G and allied technologies, such as Cloud, AI, VR, AR, and others. The discussion should be centered on real, innovative business use-cases already being implemented.
05:15 PM 06:00 PM
Session 7: Digital Sustainability

Tackling Infrastructure Gaps in the Next Decade

Investment, Funding, Financing, Unlocking Access to Capital

Ms. Imme Philbeck
Chief Economist and Director
of Sector Development
SAMENA Council
Mr. Lacina Kone
Smart Africa
Broadband Commissioner
Ms. Karen E. Wilson
GV Partners
Mr. Amir Dossal
Global Partnership Forum Broadband Commissioner
Mr. Mats Granryd
Director General
Broadband Commissioner
Mr. Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary
Universal Digital Access and Services for everyone are absolutely essential to keep our economic and social activities going. Digital services are necessary for people to stay afloat and to guarantee that no-one is excluded or left behind from participating in today’s digital economy and society! The key reasons why people don’t have access to connectivity are threefold: there is a persistent coverage gap, an upgrade gap and an adoption gap. While the coverage gap relates mainly to uneconomical, often rural and hard-to-reach areas, the upgrade and adoption gap can be found anywhere across the globe, with the Global South being most strongly affected. The reasons for these gaps are manifold. But it is clear that current ways and mechanisms of funding, financing and investment into connectivity – while having done a tremendous job of covering half the world’s population – cannot master the enormous task of providing sustainable Universal Digital Access for all alone! New approaches to financing, funding and investing into connectivity have to be identified and implemented.
This session will explore new ways of thinking and new approaches to funding, financing and investment into Digital Universal Access and Connectivity as one way of contributing to achieving the SDGs and the Agenda 2030.
Some objectives are as follows
  • What new ways of thinking about broadband funding, investment and financing can progress the closing of the connectivity gap?
  • Is broadband as a “general purpose technology” that benefits all stakeholders of our “digitalized economy” a public good with utility character that should be supplied accordingly? What can we learn from other utilities?
  • Do we need to look outside the traditional broadband infrastructure stakeholder group, and expand the basis of contributors that benefit from the investment to include other economic sectors and digital economy players?
06:00 PM 06:15 PM

Special Conversation with Etisalat Group

Conducted By
Mr. Bocar A. BA
CEO & Board Member of SAMENA Council
UN Broadband Commissioner

Champion of Digital Transformation

Eng. Hatem Dowidar
Etisalat Group
06:15 PM 06:55 PM
Session 8: Global Leaders’ Insights

Digital Policy & Digital Transformation

Visionary Leadership Views on the Future

One-to-One Conversations on “Policy & Action”

Conducted by
Mr. Tony Poulos
Renowned Commentator & Writer

Dr. Tariq Al Gurg
Dubai Cares
Prof. Jeffrey Sachs
Columbia University
Mr. Stephen Spengler
This session will be conducted in the interview form and/or special keynotes from a head of state, who is chairing an important UN body. The objective is to get multiple views from known personalities who are active on three unique fronts and are driving digital transformation (Government Leader, Operator Leader, Economics Leader).
The 2020 gave a big “wake-up call” in the shape of the COVID-19 pandemic, laying bare many of our systemic weaknesses and challenges that we, as the global community, are and will be facing and must address without delay, if we want to achieve the UN 2030 Agenda and meet future crises with more resilience. One key challenge is ensuring Universal Digital Access to connectivity; another is the proper and beneficial exploitation of available technologies such as AI, Cloud and others in the 5G operating environment.
07:00 PM 07:45 PM
Session 9: Internet Economy

From the Mind of Internet Players

Digital Economy and the Future of the Internet-powered Digital Society

Fireside Chat on the “Global Internet Economy”

Conducted by
Dr. Karim Taga
Global Practice Leader TIME
Arthur D. Little

Dr. Robert Pepper
Head, Global Connectivity and Technology Policy, Facebook
Ms. Anne-Rachel Inné
Senior VP Government Affairs Department American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN)
Dr. Joseph Lorenzo Hall
SVP, Strong Internet
This session has the key objective of seeing the evolving internet economy through the mind of companies that are directly driving internet growth and sustainability. It is absolutely critical to see how Inclusive the current Internet is and how latest internet access trends are impacting sustainability and centralization/decentralization of the Internet.
07:45 PM 08:00 PM

Closing Statements

Policy Messages & Outcomes

Mr. An Jian
President, CNBG
Middle East
Mr. Bocar A. BA
SAMENA Council

Summit Partners

Leaders' Summit 2021

Chief Patron

TRA UAE - Logo

Host Sponsor

Huawei - Logo

Strategic Partners

stc Group - Logo
Zain - Logo

Media Partner

Teletimes Internaitonal - Logo

Leaders' Summit Updates

SAMENA Council Leaders’ Summit 2021 on April 8th to Bring Together Renowned Public & Private-Sector Stakeholders and Global Bodies to Voice Transformational Needs of the Digital Age

SAMENA Telecommunications, with patronage of the Telecommunications & Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) of the UAE, strategic partnership of stc Group and Zain Group, and with Huawei as the host for the eighth consecutive year, will hold one of the world's premier ICT Industry leadership congregations, the Leaders' Summit 2021, on April 8th. To be organized under the theme “Championing Digital Economic Growth from Policy to Reality", Leaders' Summit 2021 will congregate Public and Private sector Leaders with diverse industry backgrounds, and from across multiple time zones.
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