Top African and Global leaders set to attend MWC 2015

MWC 2015
(Image Source:
MWC 2015
MWC is set to commence from 2-5 March 2015. (Image Source:

Mobile World Congress 2015 (MWC) is set to commence from 2-5 March 2015. IT News Africa will be in attendance at the event. MWC will be hosting top level C-Level professionals from Africa, as well as from across the globe.

The mobile communications revolution is driving the world’s major technology breakthroughs. From wearable devices to connected cars and homes, mobile technology is at the heart of worldwide innovation. As an industry, we are connecting billions of people to the transformative power of the Internet and mobilising every device we use in our daily lives.

The 2015 GSMA Mobile World Congress will convene industry leaders, visionaries and innovators to explore the trends that will shape mobile in the years ahead.

As MWC is one of the biggest highlights of the year, for all things telecom and tech related, we have highlighted some of the top leaders that will either be in attendance, or presenting at this extraordinary event.

Hans Vestberg, Ericsson CEO (image source: file photo)

Hans Vestberg: President and CEO, Ericsson Group
Hans Vestberg is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Ericsson Group. Vestberg joined Ericsson in 1988. He has broad international experience, having held various management positions for Ericsson in China, Brazil, Mexico and the US.

He remains the international advisor to the Governor of Guangdong, China. Vestberg served as Ericsson’s Chief Financial Officer from 2007 to 2009 before becoming CEO. Along with the rest of Ericsson’s executive team, Vestberg is focused on advancing the company’s leadership through innovation, technology, services and sustainable business solutions. Under his direction, Ericsson has become the main driver toward the Networked Society, where connectivity is the fuel of progress.

He is a leading advocate of the Millennium Development Goals, and for the potential of mobility and broadband to tackle some of the world’s most compelling issues such as poverty, health, education and climate change. He is a member of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, Founding member of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, where he chairs the task group on the post-2015 development agenda after having chaired the Commission’s climate-change working group. Vestberg is also a member of the Leadership Council of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

Back in 2009, Bharti Airtel reached the 100 million customers mark. In 2012 the company pushed on until it crossed the 200 million mark.  (Image: Christian de Faria, CEO, Airtel Africa.)

Christian De Faria : CEO, Airtel Africa
De Faria is a French national, who brings with him over 30 years of rich industry experience across multiple geographies, diverse sectors and organizations such as MTN, Telekom Malaysia, Disc Vision, Deutsche Telecom and Grundig.

Christian joined Airtel Africa in Sep 2013 as CEO of Africa operations. His key focus is to increase the revenue market share, enhance network and IT capabilities, ramp up 3G data and Airtel Money as future growth engines, strengthen customer experience by institutionalizing best-in-class processes to build execution excellence and strengthen the Airtel brand in Africa.

Before joining Airtel, Christian was, for last 7 years, associated with MTN where he held senior leadership positions including Executive Vice President, responsible for the operations for West and Central Africa Region and later as the Senior Vice President – Commercial and Innovation, responsible for transformation of the Group Supply Chain function.

In his most recent position, he was the Group Commercial Officer at MTN for 2 years until Jan 2013. Christian is a Chartered Accountant and holds a Bachelors of Finance and Administration Degree from  the University of Toulouse, France.

Alpesh PatelAlpesh Patel: CEO, Mi-Fone
Born in the Ugandan jungle while his parents were there on safari, Mi-Fone’s CEO and Founder is the true meaning of “Indian Blood…African Heart”. This original African Indian Entrepreneur made a name for himself selling large volumes of Mobile devices to the Chinese back in the 90s.

Alpesh founded Mi-Fone in 2008, after leaving Motorola where he was its Director of Sales in Africa where he placed more than 5 million devices into the continent.

Whilst there, he realized that the big brands were missing the point and that ultimately Africa was best served by Africans themselves. His 20 years of experience in the mobile business is not to be taken lightly, and he is well respected on the continent for his knowledge.

Alpesh has a deep palate for Nigerian delicacies and is always the last man standing at Mi-Fone events. After living in 5 continents around the world, he now maintains residences in Mauritius, Dubai and South Africa… and of course has a resident seat on most Emirates flights!

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO (image:

Mark Zuckerberg: CEO, Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Facebook, which he founded in 2004.

Mark is responsible for setting the overall direction and product strategy for the company.

Mark leads the design of Facebook’s service and development of its core technology and infrastructure.

Mark studied computer science at Harvard University before moving the company to Palo Alto, California.

Mark will be presenting the MWC 2015 keynote session on 2 March, 2015. The location for the keynote will be at Hall 4, Auditorium 1.

Mario-ZanottiMario Zanotti: SVP, Millicom
Mario Zanotti joined Millicom in 1992 as General Manager of Telecel in Paraguay. Following this, he became Managing Director of Tele2 Italy and CEO of YXK Systems.

In 2002, he served as Head of Central America for Millicom and became Chief Officer LATAM in 2008. Prior to joining Millicom, he worked as an electrical engineer at Itaipu Hydroelectric Power Plant and later as Chief Engineer of the biggest electrical contractor company in Paraguay.

He has a degree in Electrical Engineering from the Pontifica Universidade Catolica in Porto Alegre, Brazil and a MBA from INCAE and the Universidad Catolica de Asuncion, Paraguay. Mario Zanotti holds 8,120 Millicom shares.

MTN Sifiso DabengwaSifiso Dabengwa, Group President and CEO of MTN
Zimbabwean-born Sifiso Dabengwa has been CEO of South African-based operator MTN since 2011, having previously been COO. He has been with the company since 1999 and ran its Nigerian operation in 2004- 2006. MTN is a wide-ranging company, with operations across Africa and in the Middle East.

Dabengwa has an engineering background, having worked as a consulting electrical engineer in the building services industry and in the mining and railway sectors before joining South Africa’s state electricity company Eskom as executive director responsible for sales, customer service, electrification and distribution technology.

While MTN has confirmed that Dabengwa will not be speaking at MWC 2015, the mobile operator has informed us that he will be in attendance at the event.

SAPBill McDermott: CEO, SAP
Bill McDermott is Chief Executive Officer and executive board member of SAP. He leads the company’s 68,800 employees and 2+ million person ecosystem in executing SAP’s vision and strategy to help the world run better and improve people’s lives.

Under Bill’s leadership, in 2014 SAP unveiled a strategy to help businesses of all sizes Run Simple. The company has placed an unrivaled focus on delivering a beautiful user experience and has built the industry’s most comprehensive portfolio of solutions in the SAP Cloud powered by SAP HANA.

According to SAP, it also boasts the largest Business Network in the world, with more than $600 billion transacted annually. Since 2010, this innovation-led strategy has resulted in expansive increases in customers, total revenue, market value, and profitable growth. The SAP transformation is one of many authentic stories told in Bill’s national best-selling book, Winners Dream: A Journey from Corner Store to Corner Office.

Anne-Bouverot-GSMA-Director-GeneralAnne Bouverot: Director General of the GSMA
Anne brings to the GSMA a wealth of experience and a proven track record of success in the highly dynamic mobile industry. With a deep understanding of the opportunities and the challenges facing mobile operators today, she leads the GSMA as the essential industry partner for its operator members around the world, enabling their continued success through driving innovation, providing thought leadership and advocating for the industry.

Before joining the GSMA, Anne was Executive Vice President for Mobile Services for France Telecom Orange, where she defined the strategic transformation programmes for a business serving more than 120 million customers and revenues of more than 14 billion euros at the time.Prior to France Telecom Orange, Anne led a 600-person business unit of Equant and was responsible for developing IT services for Equant’s multinational business customers.

Anne began her career in telecommunications as project manager for Telmex in Mexico in 1991. Anne holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics and computer science from the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris and an M.S. degree from Telecom Paris. Anne was appointed as a member of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development in 2013. She also serves as a non-executive director of Capgemini, a leading global provider of consulting, technology and outsourcing services, and as a non-executive director of Edenred, the world leader of prepaid corporate services.

Hatem BamatrafHatem Bamatraf Group CTO, Etisalat
Hatem started his professional career with Etisalat in 1995 as part of the GSM Mobile System Planning team under Head Office. He was responsible for planning and optimization of the Northern Emirates region, where he played a major role in building the Mobile Network and maintaining excellent network performance which positioned etisalat as one of the leading mobile networks in the region.

In 2004, Hatem joined Mobily’s launch team as Director Mobile Network Development in the Central Region, KSA. In this capacity he was responsible of all Mobile Network activities from planning, implementation, and operations. He successfully played a major role in launching a commercial network within 6 months period; which was a remarkable achievement by all means and considered to be one of the fastest telecom launches in the world. After the completion of his international assignment with Mobily, he decided to explore a new challenging career opportunity and joined du in 2007 as Sr. Vice President Network Development based in Dubai, where he was responsible of Fixed and Mobile Network Development.

Hatem’s experience has helped du to build its Mobile Network in a very short period of time and modernize its Fixed Network to the latest technologies. In 2011, he was given the operation function in addition to his responsibilities as Executive Vice President Network Development and Operation. During this time he managed the transition of the Network Operation to a Managed Service model and successfully launched LTE with 1800 MHZ band. Late in 2012, he moved to head the Enterprise function at du and became Executive Vice President Enterprise Business leading a large team of Sales, Marketing, Broadcasting and DATAMENA to meet the business targets of the company. He built the foundation of the Enterprise Business division from process, culture, focus and strategy.

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Ajay Banga: CEO, MasterCard
Ajay Banga is president and chief executive officer of MasterCard and a member of its board of directors. Prior to joining MasterCard in 2009, Banga was chief executive officer of Citigroup Asia Pacific responsible for all businesses in the region, including institutional banking, alternative investments, wealth management, consumer banking and credit cards.

He joined Citigroup in 1996 and held a variety of senior management roles in the United States, Asia Pacific, and the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions. He was also responsible for Citi’s brand marketing and from 2005-2009 oversaw its efforts in microfinance.

Banga began his career at Nestlé, India, where for 13 years he worked on assignments spanning sales, marketing and general management. He also spent two years at PepsiCo, where he was instrumental in launching its fast food franchises in India as the economy liberalized. Banga is a member of the Board of Overseers of the Weill Cornell Medical College and on the Board of the American Red Cross. He is currently chairman of the U.S.-India Business Council and was also appointed a member of the U.S.-India CEO Forum. He serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Business Roundtable.

Banga is also a member of the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum. He is also vice chair of the Business Council. In addition, he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Advisory Board of the Moscow School of Management (SKOLKOVO), the board of the Financial Services Roundtable, the Economic Club of New York, the New York City Ballet and the Partnership for New York City.

He is a fellow of the Foreign Policy Association and was awarded the Foreign Policy Association Medal in 2012. From 2007 to 2012, Banga served on the board of directors of Kraft Foods. He has also served on the board of trustees of the Asia Society, the New York Hall of Science, and the National Urban League, among others. He received a B.A. in Economics from Delhi University where he graduated with honors and is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

Africa Night at MWC 2015

Ericsson is set to host Africa Night at MWC 2015. The focus of the event will be the development of the telecoms industry in Africa. African Night, which will be held on Monday, March 2, 2015. The event will also focus on how mobile broadband is changing people’s lives through inclusion and empowerment. The dinner is also expected to provide guests with an opportunity to network.

Guest in attendance will include:
– Former South African president Thabo Mbeki
– Andrew Rugege, Regional Director for Africa, International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
– Arthur Bastings, Executive VP Africa of Millicom
– Tony Dolton, CEO, Unitel
– Christian De Faria CEO, Airtel Africa
– Karel Pienaar, Group Chief Strategy, Mergers & Acquisitions Officer, MTN Group.
– Hans Vestberg, CEO and President, Ericsson
– Siyabulela Xuza, African Rocket Scientist, Harvard Graduate and Innovator

Darryl Linington

Profile Source: MWC