SAMENA Telecommunications Council held its first Rising for Industry Sustainability & Efficiencies (RISE) Conference on 11th January 2023 at Fairmont Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in strategic collaboration with stc Group, Mobily, China Mobile International, the Communication, Space & Technology Commission (CSTC) of Saudi Arabia, and the 193 Member States and private-sector driven UN premier ICT agency, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
Recent policy and regulatory developments in Saudi Arabia and the GCC region, particularly with respect to accelerated focus on digital transformation; adopting technology and regulatory sandboxes; making beneficial use of 5G investments; network evolution toward 5.5G/5G-Advance; rising discussion on 6 GHz; new cybersecurity imperatives; the emergence of metaverse; the role of the financial services industry and other sectors; and the overarching critical requirement of ICT ecosystem sustainability, are serving as catalysts to rethink investment, sustainable operations, end-user and enterprise service delivery while delivering on globally-agreed digital development expectations. Rising synergies among ICT Industry and other Industries, especially the Financial Services industry, also merit the repositioning of perspectives.
Eng. Olayan Alwetaid, Group CEO of stc and Chairman of the Board of Directors of SAMENA Council, has stated: “As the Kingdom’s maturity shifts into a world-class digital nation driven by Vision 2030, among the many initiatives now taking place within the Kingdom, the RISE Conference is structured to address the emerging needs and challenges of the digitally transforming businesses, economic sectors, telecom industries and the society at large becoming a platform toward sustainability in investment and improved collaborations.”
Mr. Bocar BA, CEO & Board Member of SAMENA Council views that “The RISE Conference as a new dimension of SAMENA Council’s extended support to the region’s ICT and digital transformation visions via greater and more advanced collaboration with Telecom Operators and Tech Providers. RISE is also a demonstration of the Council’s commitment to remaining in constant engagement with regional operators, regulators, regional government bodies, and global institutions.”
At a time when MCIT, under the leadership of H.E. Eng. Abdullah Alswaha, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, is leading key digitalization efforts across the public sector and when a robust and cutting-edge digital architecture has been created in Saudi Arabia in alignment with the national Vision 2030, the RISE Conference can help extend knowledge support on multiple areas. Similarly, the Saudi Communication, Space & Technology Commission (CSTC, formerly CITC) also has been a decisive force that has empowered the Saudi ICT ecosystem to progress and grow in the desired national policy direction.
In this light, H.E. Governor of CSTC, Dr. Mohammed Altamimi has emphasized that “Regional regulatory authorities need to enhance strategic cooperation in developing the digital economy and in harnessing digital technologies for sustainable economic development. Sustainability and efficiency-centric initiatives such as the SAMENA Council RISE Conference can help take our dialogue forward (quote from HE Governor suggested). The Commission is pursuing a long-term vision of digital transformation and sustainability at its heart. SAMENA Council’s RISE conference should help start the year 2023 with fresh perspectives on ICT sustainability and how ecosystem players plan to strive forward in such goals, which the Commission fully supports.”
The ITU, as UN specialized ICT agency, has been strongly promoting the need to address challenges and opportunities offered by ICTs in the areas of innovation, governance, education, job creation and economic growth. This demands newness in the way key industry decision-makers conduct dialogue on pertinent issues.
H.E. Ms. Doreen Bogdan-Martin, the first woman Secretary-General-elect and the current Director of Telecommunication Development Bureau of the ITU, reiterating the need for collaborations and partnerships, has stated that: “RISE is taking place at a key moment. As the world rapidly adopts digital technologies, greater cross-sector collaboration is urgently needed to help every country advance on its digital transformation journey. Best-practice regulation and policy making play a crucial and catalytic role in advancing digital inclusion, empowering governments, industry and consumers to capitalize on the many exciting opportunities new technologies can bring.”
RISE is a new flagship leaders-centric project by SAMENA Council to assist proactive engagement and industry discourse with Saudi Administration as well as regional policymakers and regulatory authorities. The Conference is structured on the essential requirement of addressing emerging needs and challenges of the digitally transforming businesses, economic sectors and industries, and society at large. RISE, as ICT sustainability-driven industry meeting, also has the objective of becoming the platform for recognizing, appreciating, and guiding fifth-generation collaborative regulation and policy requirements and achievements, to help incentivize the Operator Community, Sectors and Verticals, and the Private Sector, at large, toward sustainability in investment and improved collaboration.