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The pioneering panel for the 16th edition of the Telecom Review Leaders’ Summit talked about the government’s expectations from ICT leaders to enhance digital services, the role of leaders in transforming the ease of network access, steps on how to keep up with expanding technology demand and how to expand and retain a qualified workforce in today’s world.

The panel’s moderator was Fuad Siddiqui, global partner, EY, with the panelists being Andrew Feinberg, founder, chairman & CEO, Netcracker Technology and BostonGene; Bader Al Zidi, CEO, Vodafone Oman; Maziad Alharbi, CEO, stc Kuwait; Dr. Bilel Jamoussi, chief of the study groups department, ITU; Mikko Lavanti, SVP MEA, Nokia Mobile Network; and Anwar Soussa, CEO, Safaricom Ethiopia.

Speaking from Safaricom Ethiopia’s perspective in terms of enhancing digital services, Anwar Soussa felt that investment in digitization must become an imperative. He cited that his company is strongest in the fintech sector, in reference to the resounding success of M-Pesa, a mobile phone-based money transfer service, payments and micro-financing service.

Bader Al Zidi said Vodafone Oman has adopted a business model that has allowed the company to be agile, lean and efficient.

Maziad Alharbi said that stc Kuwait has made a digital promise an enablement promise to their customers in terms of rolling out services. “Put all of this together, and we are fulfilling the promise that we give to the customer,” he stressed.

Mikko Lavanti said that the enterprise will be extremely important for the ICT sector as a whole and that network efficiency would play a key role in the sector’s growth trajectory.

From an ITU perspective, Dr. Bilel Jamoussi said that the digital transformation would have to take place through constant collaboration with industry players. “When I say ITU, it's really all of us.”

He added that ITU’s new leadership team is ready to form more partnerships with the private sector.

“We need to tap all available technologies to move forward fast,” he said.

Andrew Feinberg said that innovation can only be achieved by having the right teams with the right talent. “Find the right partners to learn to drive, to innovate. We need to build with flexibility and agility; we need to prepare for the unknown.”

Regarding the challenges in the ICT sector, Maziad Alharbi said that the ICT sector needs to make sure that the ecosystem works together. About bringing diversity in the workforce, Mikko Lavanti said that Nokia was bringing young female talent to be the next-level leadership. In conclusion, Andrew Feinberg said transformation needs to be managed holistically throughout an organization.

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