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Bringing the Future Closer with Innovation: Pursuing Innovation as a Means to Overcome Challenges in the MENA Region
In January 2016, Zain Group announced the publication of its Thought Leadership Report entitled: "Bringing the Future Closer with Innovation: Pursuing Innovation as a Means to Overcome Challenges in the MENA Region." This study highlights the notion that strengthening the region’s innovative capacity can offer solutions for its most pressing socioeconomic deficits.
Zain’s 2016 Thought Leadership Report poses the question: “How can stakeholders in the region come together to further society’s innovative capacity as a means to drive sustainable, inclusive growth while promoting human development?“ It also sheds light on key activities undertaken by Zain that are driving innovation within its operating markets.
Major points within this report include:
- The region faces significant challenges including high youth unemployment, undiversified economies, socioeconomic exclusion and inequality, high rates of human displacement, and vulnerability to climate change. Bolstering innovation capabilities offers a meaningful solution to these critical societal problems.
- Through innovation, societies in the MENA region can effectively transition towards developing knowledge-based economies that can offer more sustainable growth trajectories.
- A multi-stakeholder approach that includes collaboration between the private and public sectors is necessary to ensure that national innovation agendas are successful.
- Zain has made significant strides in pursuing its Innovation Agenda, spearheaded by its Zain Digital Frontier and Innovation unit and its Corporate Sustainability and Social Responsibility (CSSR) Department.
Connecting Separated Families: Providing Hope through Connectivity
In March 2015, Zain Group announced the publication of its annual thought leadership study entitled Connecting Separated Families: Providing Hope through Connectivity, which was developed in collaboration with its partners Ericsson and Refugees United (REFUNITE).
The study coincides with the ongoing pilot phase of the Family Reconnection Project, a collaborative initiative in Jordan that leverages Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to help Syrian refugees reconnect with their missing loved ones. In 2015 the project, which is an extension of Ericsson and REFUNITE’s ongoing service in other parts of the world, will be expanded in Jordan and launched in South Sudan and Iraq to assist the growing numbers of displaced people in both countries.
The study is part of Zain’s commitment to undertake research that explores the potential of technology to assist and empower individuals around the world. Its goal is to:
- Illustrate the potential of ICT to provide innovative and tangible humanitarian relief to people displaced by war or conflict.
- Highlight the potential of technology companies and mobile operators to utilize their core competencies to improve the lives of those that are currently facing extreme hardship.
- Showcase how Zain, Ericsson and REFUNITE leverage mobile telecommunications to reconnect separated families in three of Zain’s markets: Jordan, South Sudan and Iraq.
- Highlight the importance of cross-sector partnerships to relevant stakeholders and the broader community.
“At a time when conflict has risen to an all-time high with devastating consequences, it is important that Zain as a leading regional telecom provider, undertakes initiatives that are grounded in multi-stakeholder partnerships rooted in technology. This sets the foundation of improving societies from the ground up.” Scott Gegenheimer – CEO, Zain Group
“Information and Communications Technology can play a critical role in responding to conflict and disaster. Working in public-partnerships such as this one with Zain and REFUNITE, we can demonstrate the positive impact of technology to help alleviate humanitarian challenges like the refugee crisis around the globe.” – Hans Vestberg – President and CEO, Ericsson
"Everyone has the right to know where their family is. Through the partnership between Zain, Ericsson and REFUNITE, we'll be able to inform and assist tens of thousands of displaced people in their search for missing loved ones." – Christopher Mikkelsen, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, REFUNITE
The Socio-Economic Impact of Mobile Telecommunication in the MENA Region
In February 2014 at the Barcelona Mobile World Congress, Zain Group announced the publication of its latest study titled, “The Socio-Economic Impact of Mobile Telecommunication in the MENA Region” that was developed in collaboration with PwC Middle East.
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
The Socio-Economic Impact of Mobile Telephony in Sudan
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In March 2010, Zain, in association with the global telecom equipment supplier Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC), commissioned and published a groundbreaking report highlighting the social and economic impact of mobile communications in Sudan titled ‘Socio-Economic Impact of Mobile Communications in Sudan’.
The report that was built on two years of research, covers four basic areas: Khartoum, Juba, Darfur, and in the North.
The study is comprised of three separate sub reports, covering many dimensions of social and economic development:
- ‘The Nile Connection’ which examined the social and anthropological factors around how people have traditionally, and today, communicate in Sudan (de Bruijn and Brinkman)
- ‘Economic Impact of Mobile Communications in Sudan’ – a financial analysis of the economic factors, considering both supply and demand side effects (Deloitte LLP, Business Advisory Firm)
- ‘Sudan: Mobile Communication a driver for growth?’ A survey that assessed the needs of mobile customers in Sudan, with more than 1000 survey respondents from the four different areas (Majanen and Kruse)
“The report underscores the central fact that mobile telephony offers a remarkable, indeed unique, tool for economic development, and can even reach the poorest of the poor through creative approaches by the providers and users,” said Jeffrey D. Sachs, the Director of the Earth Institute, and Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The Socio-Economic Impact of Mobile Phones in the Arab World
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In February 2006, Zain (then MTC) published a 140-page report titled ‘Mobility for One Language, Diverse Cultures’, a first-of-its-kind detailed study and survey of the mobile industry in the Arab World.
The report was launched at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona in February 2006. It includes groundbreaking research on the impact of mobile phones conducted by independent research firm Zawya.
The report is divided into five major segments, including an overview of the region’s mobile sector, economic and social impacts of mobile phones, the impact of the mobile phone in Iraq and a thorough MENA survey carried out in rural areas of six different countries; Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, by Nicosia based ACNielsen.
The major findings of the report is that the mobile phone industry in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs inside and outside the industry, boosting economic growth and fostering social harmony and security.
Mobility: A Nation Under Siege - An insight into mobile communications during the 2006 Lebanon conflict
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In July 2006, Zain (then MTC) published‘Mobility: A Nation Under Siege’, a report that analyzed the vital role played by mobile telecommunications in assisting disaster recovery within Lebanon during the Israeli-Lebanese conflict in July 2006.
The report contains unique insights into the reliability of telecoms infrastructure throughout the conflict and examines the reasons why mobile communications played a pivotal role in ensuring that families stayed in touch, the population received food and medical supplies to the correct locations, and emergency services could effectively plan their disaster response procedures.
The report sets a benchmark by providing models in global crisis planning – most notably in less developed regions such as in Africa and Asia - and it establishes the role that mobile telecommunications can play in the marshaling of emergency resources and the coordination of rescue efforts. One practical example showcases how the use of SMS technology allowed embassies to evacuate their nationals in a fast and effective manner.