Thursday 07 July 2022 - 3:07:14 pm

Post-COVID world will see significant spending on infrastructure, Nahyan bin Mubarak tells SAMENA Council Leaders’ Summit 2022

DUBAI, 9th May, 2022 (WAM) -- Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance & Coexistence, Guest of Honor, delivered an encouraging message to industry leaders at the SAMENA Telecommunications Council’s annual congregation of Telecoms and multi-industry leaders, "Leaders' Summit 2022", continuing the years-long legacy of inspiring the Industry with his messages and drawing focus on imperatives for future planning for creating the new digital life.

The "Leaders' Summit 2022" opened today with keynotes and visions statements from Majed Al Mesmar Director General of UAE’s Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) and the chief patron of the Leaders’ Summit 2022, Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General, ITU, Eng. Olayan AlWetaid, CEO, stc Group, Saudi Arabia, Mr. Bocar BA, CEO of SAMENA Council, as well as leading private sector members including Mr. Steven Yi President, Huawei Middle East and Africa.

''This year’s Leaders’ Summit is special as we meet again in person for the first time in two years. I want to thank Huawei Technologies for hosting this important summit. The Summit provides opportunities to exchange ideas, pursue partnerships, and share strategies to achieve your vision for your investments, for your companies, and your organizations,'' said Sheikh Nahyan.

''You have come together today under the banner "Thriving in the New Opportunity Realm with Resilience." This highlights your determination to improve the business and economic environments, to enhance value-added services, and to promote business growth and development in various industries through the products and services offered. The theme of your Summit also reflects your conviction that a new normal is in sight, and it is important to regain our focus on growth opportunities. '' Sheikh Nahyan said that the post-COVID world will see significant spending on infrastructure. It will require special attention to issues of workers’ morale and well-being, issues of a changing labor market, and an evolving role for leaders and other employees of companies and organizations. In the post-Covid world, issues of procurement and supply chains, developing alternative energy sources, dealing with climate change, protecting the environment, providing quality healthcare for all, and the need to be more innovative and creative in facing challenges will be central to our lives. The post-Covid era also puts greater emphasis on cooperation and working together in building strong, tolerant, and prosperous organizations and societies.

The post-COVID world, he added, will also have to deal with the development and adaptations that were made in the face of the pandemic. Examples include issues affecting the digital economy such as continued technology development, digitization of various operations, remote working and learning, cybersecurity, diversity and inclusion, inflation and high prices, new models of service delivery and customer satisfaction. They also include the role of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, as well as the growing use of analytics and data to drive decisions.

''There are greater expectations that companies and organizations must be prepared to manage any situation that could endanger their ability to continue operating. The post-COVID world will also place a special emphasis on successful social development where individual initiatives are encouraged, opportunities for women and disadvantaged groups are promoted, and all individuals are helped to achieve their full potential.'' ''In our fifty years as a nation, we in the United Arab Emirates have moved perhaps most zealously to develop our technological capacity. Under the wise leadership of the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, our country continues to value technological competence, especially as it supports education, business and finance, a sustainable environment, health care, and an innovative, productive, and prosperous society. Reinforced by the leadership of the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa presides over a country deeply enmeshed in technology networks, a country taking full advantage of the possibilities of the digital world.'' ''As was made clear in EXPO2020 Dubai, we are a country that recognizes that maintaining economic growth and social stability requires enhancing our ability to innovate, to manage risks, to anticipate the future, to work with others, and to participate fully in all useful developments around the globe,'' Sheikh Nahyan concluded.

Secretary-General ITU, Mr. Houlin Zhao in his message drew attention of the Industry to the evolution of the digital infrastructure and commendable efforts by the region’s governments and private sector leaders. "When we started measuring Internet use in 2005, it stood at 16%. In 2022, global Internet use by individuals stands at 63%. The numbers speak for themselves and show the tremendous progress we have made in connecting the unconnected. Among all stakeholders who have contributed to this success, you, the leaders of SAMENA, should be commended", Mr. Zhao remarked.

The Huawei-hosted SAMENA Council Leaders’ Summit 2022, held in Dubai with the patronage of TDRA – UAE, covered key policy and planning areas relating to Connectivity and the New Digital Life, Full Optical Networking, NBN, OpenRAN, Universal Service Obligation, Infrastructure Funding & Financing Models, Broadband Commission Agenda for Action, ITU’s Take on Re-thinking ICT Policy, Cloud & Network Synergies, FinTech, New Human Experiences & Challenges, Sustainability & Net-Zero Transition, Space-based Platforms & 5G Tech Innovations, , ICT Talent & Expectations of Younger Generation, among other important subject matter.

Mr. Bocar BA, CEO of SAMENA Council, in his message stated that "Thriving in the New Opportunity Realm with Resilience is really the overarching imperative for us all. "With increased dependencies of our economic and social systems on digital communications infrastructure and services, it is pertinent to address both persisting and emerging challenges associated with new network trends, approaches, policies, regulation, technologies, methodologies, fiber deployment, stakeholder obligations and collective responsibility toward sustainability across all fronts, ranging from investment sustainability to sustainability of the climate.'' '' Our desired outcomes of the Leaders’ Summit 2022 are really to foster new drive in making beneficial utilization of 5G, cloud, and related technologies for improving the human condition and prosperity for people and businesses. We want to see more connectedness to overcome the digital divide in meaningful ways. Our decisions should be attentive to ICT sustainability and to the protection of climate, and we must address Telecom Operators’ issues, ranging from cross-border data flow enablement to overcoming signal interference especially on coastal areas, which impact 5G planning and the region’s aspirations for becoming the IoT hub. And we must rethink taxation in the Industry, and financing and funding of ICT infrastructure development in new light."

The Leaders' Summit 2022 welcomed Chairmen and CEOs from the private sector, with several one-on-one conversations held with leading personalities and leaders from the region’s and the world’s leading private sector ICT conglomerates, with top decision-makers from regulatory authorities around the region in attendance. The Summit had the full participation of global leaders and entities focused on institutionalizing and fostering cross-sector digitization and collaboration, making the Leaders' Summit the year 2022’s premier virtual destination for leadership, dialogue, demonstration, and for refining future policy and regulation. Trends and synergies shaping the next decade, and perspectives from Operators and entities contributing to sustainable growth and development, such as through Education, were brought under focus. The Summit’s discussions were complemented by technology exhibition by Huawei, particularly focusing on New Technology, New Opportunity, and New Life.

WAM/ /Tariq alfaham