Regulators and industry share their experiences, achievements and priorities, and discuss how their roles and policies are evolving in the face of digital transformation.
Telecom futures – convergence in practice
Infrastructure and connectivity, spectrum allocation, data & cloud, IoT, cybersecurity, privacy and consumer protection
Content/audiovisual futures – convergence in practice
Digital television transition, linear to on-demand services, OTT regulation, tackling disinformation, preserving cultural diversity and media pluralism
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Ali Cheema is the Regional Lead for Government and Industry relations at Ericsson in the Middle East and North Africa. He is tasked with the coordination of ICT policy engagements and advocacy for spectrum harmonization across the region.
With over a decade of experience working with radio access networks across Middle East and Africa, Mr Cheema brings to the table not only technical expertise, but also a deep understanding of the regional context. This is coupled with a strong belief that mobile broadband can play a catalytic role for socio-economic progress in developing economies.
Dr Bharat Vagadia joined Ooredoo Group in 2017 as senior director regulatory affairs with oversight across the ten operations across MENA and South Asia. Prior to joining the group, he was with Ooredoo Qatar. He brings with him over twenty-five years’ experience in TMT policy, regulation and strategy and wealth of experience as a management consultant, having advised over fifty clients in over twenty-five countries, across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, including governments, regulatory authorities, multinationals, high growth start-ups, as well as investment funds. He has during his career, helped with sector liberalization, creation of licensing frameworks and the broader development of regulatory environments that foster competition and long-term consumer welfare.
Dr Vagadia is the author of four books, the latest being Digital Disruption.
Dr Vagadia holds a PhD, MBA, LLM, B-Eng, DipM. He sits on the board of Ooredoo Myanmar, is chair of GSMA AsiaPac policy group and member of the MENA policy group.
Iman El Banna Kaissis a bi-lingual lawyer, based in Dubai since 2008, with experience in UK law firms and in-house senior roles for multi-national companies.
Ms El Banna Kaiss has extensive experience in UAE and GCC local regulations, corporate governance, compliance, employment matters, data privacy and telecommunication regulations.
Ms El Banna Kaiss currently heads the legal department for Avaya in Middle East Africa and Turkey, providing the business with the required legal support in this emerging field. She is also the contract negotiator responsible for the closure of Avaya’s multimillion deals in MEAT.
Dr Kamal S Shehadi is Etisalat International’s Chief Legal and Regulatory Officer and the Chairman of Atlantique Telecom Group. Dr Shehadi leads Etisalat’s legal, policy, and regulatory work internationally. Dr Shehadi chaired GSMA’s Chief Policy and Regulatory Officers’ Group from 2014 to 2016.
Prior to joining Etisalat Group, from 2007 to 2010, Dr Shehadi was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, Republic of Lebanon. He chaired the ITU’s Global Industry Leaders’ Forum and the Global Symposium for Regulators in 2009.
DR Shehadi was Managing Director of Connexus Consulting (2000-2007), which he established as the leading consultancy in the Middle East and North Africa in telecom policy and regulation. He has published widely on private participation in infrastructure, telecommunications liberalization and regulation, public finance, Euro-Mediterranean economic relations, and other public policy issues.
Dr Shehadi has a B.A. with honors (A.B. cum laude) from Harvard University in economics and a PhD from Columbia University in international political economy and has been awarded a number of distinctions for his academic achievements.
Latifa Akharbach was appointed President of the High Authority for Audiovisual Communication (HACA) on December 3, 2018.
Ms Akharbach formerly held numerous decision-making positions in Moroccan diplomacy : Secretary of State to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to Tunisia and Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to Bulgaria and Macedonia.
Ms Akharbach has also served as Director of the Moroccan National Radio and Director of the High Institute of Information and Communication where she had previously been Professor and researcher for more than twenty years.
She is an experienced international consultant in the field of journalism, communication and journalists training. She has published several articles, studies and books on media, communication and women’s rights.
Ms Akharbach has a PhD in Information Sciences and Communication.
Nouri Lajmi is the President of the High Independent Communication Authority (HAICA) of Tunisia since 2013. Doctor in information sciences, he taught journalism at the Press and Information Sciences Institute at Manouba University in Tunis before leaving for Canada. He lived in the province of Quebec for more than ten years, where he collaborated with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Center for Research in Public Law of the University of Montreal (CRDP) and with the Department of information and communication from Laval University in Quebec. Mr Laimi is the author of several scientific texts and studies on journalism, media regulation and journalistic ethics.
After 15 years shaping and implementing the European regulatory framework for electronic communications, Dr Pascal Dutru moved to the Middle East in 2012. There, he played an instrumental role in establishing Qatar Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA), the independent authority in charge of ICT and postal services, holding various senior manager positions ranging from strategy, policy, planning and legal. In that capacity, he has ensured that the regulator enables the ICT sector as a whole and supports digital transformation and digital inclusion. Amongst a wide span of achievements, he has defined regulatory strategies and reviewed practices, adopting a forward-looking perspective. He has also developed specific regulatory frameworks for competition, access, quality of service and reviewed core regulatory policies and instruments related to spectrum, numbering and addressing. His actions support Qatar transforming into a connected nation, with very high-speed fixed and mobile broadband available everywhere (full fiber and 4G+ network coverage, large 5G roll out). He has also supported Qatar in signing and implementing ambitious strategic partnerships with large Cloud service providers, developed the national Cloud Policy and related instruments, and contributed to significant digital transformation projects.
Dr Dutru brings with him over 25 years of experience in the communications industry, with an in-depth understanding of markets at all stages of competition and the deployment of proactive strategies tailored to foster growth.
In Europe, he was General Counsel of Clear Channel (Europe), a worldwide external communication group, and of Alten SA, a listed IT services company. Prior to that, he was Deputy General Counsel in charge of the regulatory and competition division of Bouygues Telecom, a French fixed and mobile telecom service provider. As part of his duties, he helped the company branch into new markets, oversaw strategic contract negotiations with French and Foreign service providers, handled complex litigations and was deeply involved in the regulatory field in France and in Europe.
His earlier professional experience includes working as an attorney at law with Thieffry & Associes, and Bigle, Carbonnier, Lamaze & Rasle, amongst other distinguished organizations.
Dr Dutru is an Attorney at Law (Paris) and often conducts lectures in telecom law and electronic commerce, regularly speaks at high profile international conferences and is an officer of the international Bar association (IBA – Communications Committee).
Dr Dutru has a PhD in Law and an LLM in European Law from the College of Europe (Bruges). He also graduated from ESSEC in Finance and Control.
Zeina Mokaddem has successfully championed and introduced a number of pioneering communication technologies globally and in the Middle East and North Africa in particular. Prior to Inmarsat, Ms Mokaddem worked as a consultant for a number of international communication players assisting them in opening new markets and shaping favourable regulatory frameworks in different jurisdictions.
Zeina is currently co-chair for ITU’s Network of Women NOW-WRC23 for the Arab region.
Ms Mokaddem has an MSc in Engineering Management from the American University of Beirut.
Francesco Liberatore advises clients on all aspects of the application of communications and competition law.
On the behavioural side, Mr Liberatore’s practice includes bringing and defending all types of regulatory and competition disputes before Ofcom, the Competition and Markets Authority and the European Commission, as well as managing internal investigations, dawn raids, and counselling on compliance issues and various commercial agreements. On the transactional side, Mr Liberatore handles UK and EU merger control due diligence and filings, as well as coordinating multijurisdictional merger control strategies. He also advises private equity investors, banks, and other financial investors on arbitrage opportunities.
Mr Liberatore’s litigation experience includes representing clients in matters before the Competition Appeal Tribunal, the High Court of Justice and the European Courts.
He has authored several legal publications, including the UK Chapter of the International Telecommunications Law handbook (Juris Publishing).
Mr Liberatore has been listed as a leading practitioner in Chambers UK, Chambers Global, The Legal 500 UK and Who’s Who Legal. He is a guest lecturer at King’s College London and a member of Justice.
James Bellis, a Director in the Telecommunications Practice of Frontier Economics, has over 16 years’ experience advising world leading operators, regulators and policy makers across the globe. Much of his work focuses on market liberalisation, competition assessments, retail and wholesale pricing, cost accounting, spectrum pricing and policy, universal service and policies to promote high speed broadband services.
Mr Bellis leads much of Frontier’s telecommunications work outside Europe, focusing on Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean and he has managed a number of complex assignments working with other experts and client teams.
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