Press Release

Press Release

ITU Secretary-General’s Address during SAMENA Council’s Leaders’ Summit 2019 to Enunciate Global Collaboration as a Necessity for Enabling 5G to become Driver of the Next Mobile Era

SAMENA Telecommunications Council has announced that the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Secretary-General, His Excellency Houlin Zhao, will attend the Leaders’ Summit 2019, to delineate the importance of global collaboration for leveraging fifth-generation technologies, in order to catalyze a global change in mobile communications and to foster digital inclusion within the society. Mr. Zhao’s participation in SAMENA Council’s Leaders’ Summit also evidences the ITU’s increasing interaction with private-sector decision-makers who use the trusted platforms provided by SAMENA Council to meet like-minded leaders and brainstorm on solutions to complex industry issues.

Lately, the ITU’s focus on promoting global collaborations and enabling developmental efforts within the Industry has intensified, to help ensure fifth-generation technologies receive timely attention of the decision-makers, in order to help nations develop themselves and benefit from the fourth industrial revolution, which is now in play, and to fulfill the goals defined in the UN’s sustainability agenda.

Hosted for the sixth consecutive year by Huawei Technologies Middle East, Co-Sponsored by Sudatel Group, Zain Group, and Ericsson Middle East, and other leading names in the industry, the one-day leaders-only congregation, the Leaders’ Summit 2019, will bring together change-makers from the private and public domains, with the purpose of addressing the Industry’s most pressing issues and paving the path for materializing potential collaborative undertakings among the private and government sector stakeholders. This year, Leaders’ Summit will follow a new format, designed to maximize by-invitation-only attendance and both depth and diversity to multi-stakeholder discussions.

“Cross-industry and public-private sector collaboration will be key to deploying 5G networks. With our World Radiocommunication Conference to take place in Sharm el-Sheikh from 28 October to 22 November 2019, ITU is at the heart of this process,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “SAMENA Council is a valued partner of ITU and an influential force in the Arab world, the SAMENA region, and beyond. I look forward to deepening our cooperation on ICT development to ensure that 5G is a source for good for everyone, everywhere.”

"SAMENA Telecommunications Council is at the forefront of the campaign to develop the SA-ME-NA region’s digital economies; to unify the telecom industry’s voice; and to work closely with industry leaders who are spearheading and energizing collaborative fronts for bringing about a positive impact in our collective efforts to achieve digital inclusion and meet sustainable development goals. I am highly privileged by the opportunity to welcome His Excellency ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao to Leaders’ Summit 2019. Mr. Zhao’s presence in itself serves as a motivation for industry decision-makers and drivers of change to be part of SAMENA Council’s important leaders’ congregation and add depth to the Summit’s dialog, which will be centred on policy, investment, regulation, infrastructure development, and industry sustainability needs, particularly in view of 5G development efforts prevalent throughout the world," stated CEO & Board Member of SAMENA Council, Bocar BA.

"It is SAMENA Council’s privilege that the Leaders’ Summit 2019, in the presence of esteemed global and regional leaders, will be held with the patronage of UAE’s telecom regulatory authority and organized in collaboration with the leading private-sector names of the Industry, including Huawei, Zain Group, Sudatel Group, and Ericsson," continued BA.

To accelerate large-scale deployment of 5G, Huawei will host the "5G is ON Forum" during the Leaders’ Summit. The event will be an occasion for 5G industry partners to discuss how emerging 5G-enabled intelligent services and innovations can help operators identify new business opportunities and thereby achieve growth.

The SAMENA Council’s Leaders’ Summit is an annual leadership event, encompassing private and government sector leaders’ gathering, bi-lateral stakeholder meetings, and panel discussions, held among stakeholders in a world-class setting. Leaders’ Summit 2019 will build on past discussions, centered around enabling a true, regional digital economy. Areas to come under discussion include enabling transition to “Inclusive 5G”; barriers to achieving economies of scale in 5G device capabilities; identification of technology, regulatory, and business challenges in 5G communications; Industry 4.0; and technology use cases in a 5G-enabled digital economy.

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About ITU and SG-ITU
Internal Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies - ICTs. Founded in 1865 to facilitate international connectivity in communications networks, ITU allocates global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, develops the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect, and strives to improve access to ICTs to underserved communities worldwide.
ITU Member States re-elected Mr. Houlin Zhao as ITU Secretary-General on 1 November 2018. He began his second four-year term on 1 January 2019. Prior to first being elected as ITU Secretary-General in 2014, Mr. Zhao served eight years as ITU Deputy Secretary-General, supporting the work of the Secretary-General, principally in terms of day-to-day management, including human resources, financial administration, improving efficiency, and working to help broaden ITU’s membership, particularly in terms of academic institutions. He also served two elected terms as Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), which develops technical standards to ensure worldwide ICT interoperability.

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. SAMENA Council is also Sector-D Member of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

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.