With the opening of SAMENA Telecommunications Council’s Beyond Connectivity 2011 meeting, the focus on broadband Internet and the importance of digitization in the Middle East and North African region were at the top of the agenda. Experts at the conference said that the MENA region is well-suited to continue its broadband and data expansion this year.
The conference explores the evolution of technology in the region and sees leading experts and companies come together to help build further relationships that they hope will lead to “expediting the digitization of the economy, and the socio-economic benefits of spectrum reshaping.”
CEO of SAMENA and chair of Saudi Telecom Saud al-Daweesh said that “the economic role played by the regional telecommunications industry in enabling growth has been overwhelming in the last few years. Telecom and ICT indicators continue to grow. The greatest value offered however, is the transformation of the lives of the people. The social and cultural implications of connectivity have been tremendous so far and hence SAMENA has been doing groundwork for the elaboration of region-wide ICT policies that could have significant social, economical and cultural benefits.”
In Egypt and Tunisia, the two countries that recently saw revolutions topple their decades’ old dictatorships, analysts believe the IT sector can benefit greatly from regional discussions on the future of technology and telecommunications.
“It is an amazing moment for Egypt and Tunisia, both countries that had positive growth already in the IT sector,” said Yussif Badrawy, an Egyptian telecom expert. He argued that companies see the massive potential in the MENA region and this has spurred discussions on a regional level to increase growth.
“There is much to be done in the MENA region in terms of telecommunications and sector infrastructure development, so to see company executives come together and discuss partnerships is a sign of the overall health to the sector,” he added.
By Jonathan Terry