Press Release

Press Release

SAMENA Council to Hold Public-Private Policy Roundtables Next Month

"SAMENA Accelerator" Series of Stakeholder Meetings to Contribute Recommendations on Accelerating Fiber Deployment and Sustainable Digital Economy in the Region

SAMENA Telecommunications Council has announced that, with the collaboration of Huawei Technologies Middle East, a series of Public and Private sector policy-level roundtables will be held with industry stakeholders during the month of November, focused on addressing issues and requirements for increased fiber deployment in the region and to assist policymakers in accelerating a sustainable digital economy.

The first one-day, by-invitation-only SAMENA Accelerator roundtable on building "Fiber-optic Connectivity Corridors for Digital Economy", to be held on November 19, 2020, will bring together ICT policy and regulatory leadership from within the region and beyond, to discuss the SA-ME-NA region's Fiber deployment challenges, including a myriad of investment and deployment issues; to build the case for accelerating Fiber deployment as a future-proof conduit of digitization and economic growth; and to recommend policy initiatives in areas where expedited policy decisions and regulatory enablement can positively make a difference in the proliferation of Fiber-optic networks in the region. The Fiber-focused roundtable will build on recommendations already issued to UN Member States by the ITU, the private sector, and by the UN Broadband Commission, highlighting the positive economic impact and fulfillment of bandwidth demands posed by emerging digital communications technologies in countries with low Fiber penetration.

Similarly, the second SAMENA Accelerator roundtable, focused on "Accelerating a Sustainable Digital Economy", to be held later in November, will drive inspiration from and build on the key messages and decisions expressed in the Declaration of the G20 Digital Economy Ministers Meeting of July 2020; including the fact that digital technologies must be harnessed to realize opportunities of the 21st century for all and that it is highly important that the region's digital economy and policy-making sustain progress on the implementation and fulfillment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Recognizing the criticality of universal, secure, and affordable connectivity, for which expansion of ICT infrastructure is a pre-requisite and the fundamental enabler of development of the digital economy, the prevailing policy-level consensus among the region's policymakers underpins the need for developing frameworks that can help accelerate and measure the digital economy. To this effect, the SAMENA Council and Huawei collaborated roundtable on Digital Economy will help identify key initiatives that can be taken immediately to accelerate progress on digital development in a digitally inclusive manner, thus providing regional policymakers and regulatory authorities the confidence that the Private sector is fully ready to play its part in fulfilling the global goal of Universal Digital Access and in furthering the Connect 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda of the United Nations.

In the wake of accelerated 5G developments and given the anticipated role 5G may play in advancing other industries and new growth streams, thereby catalyzing new economic development opportunities across established and nascent market segments, both SAMENA Council, which serves as a unifying voice for Telecom Operators as well as a sector-development partner to governments, and Huawei, which is a leading Technology Provider as well as a Member of the Council, view Fiber deployment as a guarantor of future digital communication advancements and reliability, and which will drive future digital economic growth, foster digital ecosystems, and support new opportunities for nations and their citizens in their personal and societal strides.

Bocar BA, CEO and Board Member of SAMENA Council, expressing his views on continuing to bring Public and Private sector decision-makers on the SAMENA Council's platform to participate in the subject-specific policy-level roundtables, has stated that "These SAMENA Digital Economy Policy Accelerator roundtables are the next step in SAMENA Council's advocacy efforts to conjoin knowledge-exchange with practical methods to accelerate the region's digital economy, and Fiber infrastructure is proving to be fundamental to this aspiration. Digital transformation, enabled by mobility, cloud and broadband technologies, including Fiber-optic, is taking place in almost every industry, reinforcing the need for us to re-think ICT infrastructure development and ICT policies, which should be aligned well with national economic visions as much as they should be with sustainability of investment within the Industry. The region requires accelerated implementation of certain initiatives that can boost up the region's socio-economic transformation through digitization. These roundtables are a product of visions and priorities that SAMENA Council's Membership shares with the region's Policymakers and Regulatory Authorities. We anticipate prolific, outcome-oriented roadmap for action between the Private and the Public sectors during the month of November. SAMENA Council will issue outcome statements, following these roundtables, to assist in the region's policy-making efforts."

Huawei Middle East's President, Charles Yang, has commented, “Huawei envisions an intelligent, fully connected digital world, where nations and citizens prosper. We support strategic approaches and innovation-driven frameworks that can help develop the world’s digital economies. Policy and regulatory transformation required to achieve progress on global digital fronts, aligned with internationally agreed digital development goals suited to each country’s nation-building visions, must first focus on expediting the development of reliable and resilient communications infrastructure, which serve as the cornerstone of our connected and digital economy. The Middle East region inevitably requires fiber-based networks, which will not only boost its socio-economic development and build the knowledge based digital economy, but will also help make it sustainable.”

The SAMENA Accelerator series of action-oriented stakeholder meetings are similar in their approach to the SAMENA Leaders' Roundtable (SALT). While the SALT follows the Chatham House rules of communication and information-sharing and is intended only for the leadership of Regulatory Authorities and Private Sector CEOs, the SAMENA Accelerator roundtables are open to all tiers of policy decision-making and the wider industry audience. Participation as speakers in the roundtables, however, is exclusive to invited speakers only. Senior industry executives may approach SAMENA Council to request participation details.