Zain Group, a pioneer in mobile telecommunications across the Middle East and North Africa announces the publication of its latest study titled, “The Socio-Economic Impact of Mobile Telecommunication in the MENA Region”.
A launch ceremony promoting the publication was held today in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress, attended by senior Zain and PwC Partners and dignitaries that included Zain Group Chairman Asaad Al Banwan, Zain Group CEO Scott Gegenheimer, Dr. Anil Khurana, PwC Partner and Middle East Consumer and Industrial Products and Services (CIPS) Leader and Mohamed Kande Partner, Global Telecom Information, Communication and Entertainment (TICE) Advisory Leader.
The study was developed in collaboration with PwC Middle East, underlying the role Zain takes as thought-leader and regional innovator, and it’s eagerness to not only share its experience and insights with the wider community but most importantly to be an agent for change and development.
Coinciding with the celebration of Zain Group’s 30th anniversary of operation, the study illustrates that by tapping the potential of emerging mobile solutions in areas such as commerce, education and health, the mobile telecom sector can truly become a catalyst for growth and prosperity in the MENA region.
The detailed study covers relevant topics including the key development challenges in Zain’s markets, and emerging business models in developing markets; through to the solutions that Zain has put in place to overcome market and industry challenges, and demographic shifts, affordability and accessibility to healthcare through mobile solutions.
A few of the findings of the study include:
• Mobile communications have achieved in 2 decades what fixed line communications took 120 years to realize in contributing to economic development
• Nations are increasingly dependent on modern communication networks for effective participation in an increasingly global economy
• Strong telecommunication networks attract more foreign direct investment
• How availability of reliable mobile coverage and solutions in several countries can provide women with better social and economic services and boost employment in this gender
• Privatization of incumbent state operators and shifting government responsibility from ownership and management, to policy and regulation leads to improved overall network performance
Commenting on the release of the study, Zain Group Chairman, Asaad Al Banwan said: “As Zain celebrates its 30 years as a regional pioneer in the telecom sector, through this study we have shown that mobile telecommunications can result in tangible socio-economic benefits to the MENA region in areas such as increased employment opportunities, more efficient economies, and improved access to education.”
The Chairman added, “Our commitment to sustainability motivates us to continue to expand our understanding of the numerous ways in which the core services that we offer create prospects for socio-economic growth and improved environmental performance.”
Zain Group CEO, Scott Gegenheimer said: “As leaders in the telecom sector we believe it is our responsibility to share our knowledge and experience with the wider world in order to shed light on the best ways to align activities in the mobile telecom sector with the larger socio-economic goals of our region. It is our expectation that this study will serve as a tool to inform and help policymakers leverage these insights in order to create an enabling environment for further growth and development, which will ultimately lead to more job creation, poverty alleviation and social equality. We do this in the belief that our ability to influence society in a positive way feeds directly into our own success as an organization.”
Gegenheimer added: “With over 46 million customers, the findings of this study is a step forward to better understand the communities we serve, and how we can further enrich their livelihoods.”
On the collaboration, Dr. Anil Khurana from PwC Middle East said: “The evolution of telecommunications continues to give rise to disruptive innovations, many of which have the potential to create a positive impact on economies and societies. Telecommunications has proven to be one of the most cross cutting industries in terms of its market reach, and the boundaries of the ecosystem continue to widen. It has thus become a critical channel for connecting and enriching societies, ultimately creating value for consumers and providers.
Co-author Emily Manuel from PwC added: “Our joint study with Zain highlights the potential for the region to gain and develop through the industry and its services, due to attributes such as its ability to rapidly leapfrog infrastructure. The ecosystem will need the support and leadership of stakeholders and institutions in order to shape the best outcomes for the future.”
The study also includes a diverse range of topical issues including how mobile communications support agricultural systems; to withstand growing pressures from climate change; and optimizing resources and managing growing demand in the face of urbanization and Smart Grids.
Furthermore the study highlights the need for governments to recognize the potential of mobile for development of its economy and lead the way through strong and proactive leadership as a catalyst in fast tracking the pace for mobile development.