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Leading African ICT officials join Dubai conference

March 6, 2012 • Events

Top African telecom operators, ICT officials and industry leaders will be attending a conference on broadband internet and telecommunications issues in Africa and the Middle East later this month. The Executive Summit at Broadband MEA 2012 starts on 26 March and will be held in Dubai, a conference statement said on Monday.

A crucial ICT conference will be held at the end of the month, focusing on Africa technology expansion at a time when the continent faces internet blackouts. (image: epiphan.com)

The summit aims to “allow participants to address critical issues in today’s broadband industry and agree [on] how to drive sustainable growth in the MEA region”.

Topping the agenda will be securing fiber optic cables to East Africa via the Indian Ocean route. Etisalat, the UAE’s leading telecom operator expanding across the continent, aims to address these issues during the summit.

“In North Africa a few years ago, a cable was cut and it shut down the internet for days,” a Dubai-based Etisalat official said. The official, unauthorised to address the media, told ITNewsAfrica.com “the future of IT and telecom success in Africa largely depends on maintaining secure internet all the time”.

Rob Gallagher, Informa Telecoms and Media Principal Analyst and Head of Broadband and TV Research, said in a press statement: “While broadband deployments present major challenges to many operators and policy makers in the Middle East and Africa, the region is also home to some of the most innovative and advanced strategies in the world. As such, The Executive Summit, and event as a whole, will provide an essential forum to learn about and debate the future of broadband, including next-generation technologies, for stakeholders from across the region and the entire industry.”

With East African countries are currently reeling from an underwater cable cut, the summit is a prime opportunity for African telecom leaders to address the current infrastructure difficulties as well as boosting their nations’ lure for new investors from the wealthy Arab Gulf region.

Joseph Mayton

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