Zain’s Chris Gabriel joins group of Africa telecom leaders at AfricaCom

INTERNATIONAL. Informa Telecoms and Media has announced the participation Chris Gabriel, CEO of Zain Africa, as a keynote speaker at AfricaCom, the continent’s annual congress for telecommunications professionals.

His presentation will give an update on Zain’s strategy as one of Africa’s leading telecommunications operator groups.

“2008 has been a very busy year for Zain group in Africa, with the re-branding from Celtel, the extension of the One Network, and extraordinary growth in our 15 operations on the continent,” Gabriel saId. “AfricaCom will be an occasion to reflect on Zain’s leadership in Africa’s telecommunications market and on our strategy as part of a group with a global vision.”

Chris Gabriel was appointed CEO of Zain Africa in December 2007. He oversees all Zain’s operations in Africa, serving over 33 million active customers.

He joins a group of over 20 C-level representatives of Africa’s major telecommunications operators, including large regional groups such as MTN (represented by Tim Lowry, Vice President for Southern and East Africa region, and Managing Director of MTN South Africa), Vodacom (with Nkateko Nyoka, Group Chief Officer-Regulatory and Stakeholder Relations), and Orange (with Marc Rennard, Eexecutive Vice President & Head of International Operations for Africa, Middle East & Asia).

Newcomers and smaller but growing groups will be represented as well, to give a fresh perspective of the opportunities in the continent’s changing market, with Dr Sultan Bahabri, Chairman of Hits Africa, Michael P Foley, CEO-Africa, Essar Communications Holdings (parent company of Econet Wireless), or Patrick Kouame (CEO of regional ISP Alink Telecom International).

Operators at country level and smaller services providers will be heavily represented as well, with the CEOs of Safaricom (Kenya), Atlantique Telecom (Ivory Coast), MTC (Namibia ), Vodacom (Mozambique and Tanzania), Flashcom (Kenya), Virgin Mobile (South Africa), Benson Informatics Limited (Tanzania) and more.

AfricaCom will take place for the 11th time in Cape Town, South Africa on 18-19 November. The programme will include over 70 speakers representing the continent’s leading telecommunications businesses, with strategic keynote sessions and specialist streams to address all the key issues in the market. This year’s event includes brand new sessions, covering among other topics sustainable telecommunications, improving access to the Internet, branding, value-added services, mobile finance and more.

“The conference agenda reflects the dynamism of Africa’s communications market by covering all aspects from the technical side of deploying and maintaining networks to developing services that will attract new customers and increase ARPU,” said Julie Rey, Head of Africa & Asia-Pacific for the Com World Series.

In addition, the new AfricaCom Awards will be launched at the end of the first day of the congress, recognising excellence in Africa’s telecommunications market.