Digital Lebanon Conference
Digital Lebanon Conference took place on September 13th, 2019, at Phoenicia Hotel in Beirut, under the patronage of the President of the Council of Ministers, H.E. Mr. Saad Hariri, and in partnership with the Ministry of Telecommunications, the Ministry of State for Administrative Reforms (OMSAR), the Ministry of State for Investment and Technology, the Office of the Prime Minister, and the World Bank.
The conference brought together the brightest minds to discuss the institutional bases for building the future of Lebanon’s economy… the digital economy. It discussed Lebanon’s digital strategy and the most pressing topics helping the government bridge the technology and knowledge gaps in a world driven by new technologies that are radically creating new approaches that revolutionize the way in which nations, societies, and businesses engage and collaborate.
The conference also focused on key policy interventions, initiatives and recommendations needed for Lebanon to be recognized as a regional player in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector by 2020, and as a quality supplier of innovative technology by 2025. It discussed initiatives aiming to strongly position Lebanon on the global digital economy map and capitalize on its skilled human resources, rich entrepreneurial culture and the vast network of Lebanese entrepreneurs across the world, as well as highlight use cases of 5G, blockchain, artificial intelligence and many other technologies in private and public projects.
Meet Our Speakers
H.E. Mohamed Choucair
Minister of Telecommunications
H.E. Mr. Choucair is currently the Minister of Telecommunications in Lebanon.
H.E. Mr. Choucair was CEO and Vice President of Patchi, one of the most renowned chocolate brands in the region. He has also launched several industrial projects and invested in several real estate companies.
He assumed responsibilities in several professional associations and contributed to the foundation of many others. He is currently the Chairman of the Federation of the Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Lebanon, Chairman of the Lebanese Economic Organizations, & Bureau member of the Economic and Social council in Lebanon.
In April 2012, he became Chairman of the Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the Mediterranean (ASCAME) based in Barcelona and grouping 220 chambers around the Mediterranean.
H.E. Dr. May Chidiac
Minister of State for Administrative Development
H.E. Dr. Chidiac is currently the Minister of State for Administrative Development.
She began her professional career at Free Lebanon Radio station in 1982. She was a correspondent and presenter of a television news program at LBC. She also took charge of the media department at the Lebanese embassy in Switzerland between 1989 and 1990.
She has been teaching journalism at Notre Dame University Louaizé (NDU) since 1997.
Six months after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in 2005, she was the victim of an assassination attempt, which she miraculously survived.
In July 2006, H.E. Dr. Chidiac was back on-air for the prime time talk-show, ”Bikol Joraa” (With Audacity), which became a hit international and national news TV show. She also founded the May Chidiac Foundation, an organization committed to education, social welfare and human rights with an emphasis on women’s rights.
Throughout her career, she has received numerous international honors including “Le Prix de la Francophonie pour la Liberté d’expression,” UNESCO Award “Guillermo Cano/UNESCO Award for Freedom of Expression,” and the “IWMF (International Woman Media Foundation) Courage in Journalism Award,” which was delivered in Los Angeles, New York and Washington.
In 2009 she established the May Chidiac for Freedom of Speech Foundation in New York, a group which dedicates itself to providing support and opportunities to individuals interested in pursuing careers in Journalism, and to promote freedom of expression in Lebanon and the region.
H.E. Dr. Chidiac obtained her PhD degree with High Distinction in Communications from Paris II University Panthéon Assas.
H.E. Adel Afiouni
Minister of State for Investment & Technology
H.E. Mr. Afiouni is the Minister of State for Information Technology in Lebanon.
He is a board member of the Lebanese International Finance Executives (LIFE) since 2013 and a founding member of LIFE.
He is Managing Director of Credit Suisse Investment Bank in the Global Markets Division.
Over his 17 years’ career at Credit Suisse, Adel held a number of senior positions in Emerging Markets across both Global Markets and Investment Banking.
He is a graduate of Ecole Polytechnique in Paris. He also holds a Master’s degree in Economics and Finance from the University of Paris I Pantheon- Sorbonne in Paris, and a Master’s degree in Telecommunications Engineering from ENST Paris.
H.E. Eng. Atef Helmy
Former Minister of Telecommunications
With more than 40 years of solid experience in business and in communications & information technology, Eng. Helmy lead numerous executive management positions in two Fortune 100 companies, namely NCR/AT&T and Oracle in the United States, Europe, Middle East, and Africa, reaching the positions of Managing Director of NCR UAE, Managing Director of Oracle Egypt, and Chairman of Orange Egypt. He has also contributed to the development of the digital society in Egypt and MEA as chairman of the Chamber of Communications & Information Technology, member of the American Chamber of commerce, founding member of the Arab Digital Economy Federation, and through numerous positions on the Board of Directors and Board of Trustees of many organizations, institutions, universities, and NGOs.
In January 2013, Eng. Atef Helmy assumedresponsibility as Egypt's Minister of Communications & Information Technology. In recognition of his efforts, professionalism and leadership, Eng. Helmy has chaired the World Summit for Information Societies (WSIS +10) high-level event in Geneva in June 2014 and was awarded the Golden Medallion from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for his active role.
For ten years, Eng. Helmy honorably served in the Egyptian Military Force in the field of communications and information technology. Helmy holds a B.Sc. in Communication and Electrical Engineering (with Honors) from the Military Technical College in 1973, a Diploma in Computer Science from Ain Shams University in 1979, and a master's degree in IT from Ain Shams University in 1982.
- Chairman, Prime Business Consulting
- Senior Advisor, Orange MEA
- Ambassador of Orange to Smart Africa
- Board Member, SAMENA Council
- Founding Member & President of the General Assembly, Arab Digital Economy Federation
- Founding Member, Egypt Fintech Association
- Honorary Member, American Chamber of Commerce
- Member, Board of Trustees, British University in Egypt
- Member, Board of Trustees, Beit El Zakat (Egypt House of Alms & Charity)
- Board Member, Al Mohandes Insurance
- Board Member, Al Hayat Insurance
MP Nicolas Sehnaoui
Former Minister of Telecommunications
Born in 1967 and married with three kids, Nicolas Sehnaoui served as the Minister of Telecommunications of the Republic of Lebanon between June 2011 and February 2014. He successfully upgraded Lebanon’s telecommunications infrastructure rolling out 3G and 4G, securing redundancy on the international connectivity, launching a national Fiber Optic Backbone and Beirut Digital District to name only a few of his accomplishments.
His efforts were crowned by the United Nations International Telecommunication Union that ranked Lebanon 1st in progress out of 157 countries in the 2012 ICT Development Index.
Prior to taking office Sehnaoui successfully managed several companies across a variety of industries. He now chairs the UK Lebanon Tech Hub that aims at creating a corridor between Lebanon and England to allow Lebanese ICT entrepreneurs to access the world supply chain through the London platform.
In May 2018 he was elected member Parliament for the Beirut 1 district.
Dr. Nadim Munla
Advisor to the President of the Council of Ministers
Dr. Nadim Munla is currently the Advisor to the President of the Council of Ministers in Lebanon
Dr. Munla was the Chairman and General Manager of the Future TV, as well as an Economic Advisor to the former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and an Economic Advisor to the Minister of State for Financial Affairs.
Prior to that Dr. Munla was the Vice Chairman of Beirut Stock Exchange.
He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Southern California, L.A
Lead Governance SpecialistWorld Bank
Paul is the Lead Governance Specialist for the World Bank in the Mashreq. He is based in Lebanon. Prior to this he resided in, and performed similar roles for the World Bank in, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Rwanda. Paul is an experienced "Big 4" Consulting Director having worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for over 17 years (1994-2011) where he latterly, led public sector advisory work across 9 countries in Africa. Paul has extensive experience of delivering public sector technical assistance projects involving governance, technology and transformational change, across the Middle East, South Asia, Africa, Europe and the UK..
A glimpse into the achievements of Imad Kreidieh
An international business professional, an inspirational leader with extensive board level experience; meet Ogero’s Chairman and General Director striving to establish a new era in Lebanese Telecommunications, Imad Kreidieh.
Having acquired specialized expertise in the development and implementation of highly effective strategies for several global mobile operators and institutions, Imad has built a solid track history in leading businesses to remarkable revenue growth and expansion.
Combining an entrepreneurial outlook, strong commercial skills, a visionary mindset and a passion for achieving objectives, Imad Kreidieh has taken on the mission of transforming the nation to the regional’s leading digital hub.
- Dual MBA in Business Administration ESA / ESCP
- Master of Arts, Monetary Economics, Northeastern University
Senior Vice President
Digital Payments & Labs
Middle East & Africa Mastercard
Gaurang Shah is the MEA lead for Digital Payments. In his current role, Gaurang is in charge of developing solutions and executing market strategies for cash displacement, leveraging digital payment technologies.
Prior to this role, Gaurang was MENA Division Lead for Global Processing, focused on developing and executing market strategies and national ecosystem development across the cluster
Gaurang joined Mastercard in April 2013 and since then he has been driving several key initiatives across the region. He also successfully led the Safety & Security agenda for the region with the conceptualization and execution of the Fraud solutions strategy.
Gaurang brings 15+ years of experience in technology, banking and payment space working closely with global companies – Infosys (large software exporter), ICICI Bank (Largest private sector bank in India), Visa and current Mastercard.
Gaurang graduated from the Indian School of Business (affiliated to Kellogg’s, Wharton and London Business School) with a degree in Business Administration.
Paul G. C. Hector
Advisor for Communication and InformationUNESCO Regional Bureau for Sciences in the Arab States
Mr. Hectorcurrently serves as Advisor for Communication and Information in UNESCO’s Regional Bureau for Sciences in the Arab States. Since joining UNESCO in 2000 under its Young Professionals Programme, he has been involved in supporting project initiatives and policy actions in Africa, South America, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East that promote ICT-enabled access to information and knowledge. Much of this work has sought to address inequalities in access to information and knowledge linked to issues such as gender, language, literacy, island/rural living and disability. Initially trained as a civil and structural engineer he now holds doctoral degrees in Management Science as well as in Knowledge & Innovation Management. Since 2012, Paul has been involved in the United Nations University’s annual international conference on the Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV) as a Track Chair and a member of various committees. He is the author of book chapters, peer-reviewed conference and journal papers as well as case studies. He has been involved in the development of various courses and has lectured in postgraduate business programmes. Paul is an alumnus of the J. William Fulbright Scholar and US State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Programmes. His research interests include knowledge-based development, urbanization, entrepreneurship and medtech applications.