As the world undergoes major shifts in digital transformation within the public and private sectors, Lebanon is getting ready to adopt and implement a new plan to develop its digital economy by attracting new investments in infrastructure, networks, applications and emerging projects and creating a digital environment conducive to growth. The government aims with this implementation to position Lebanon as a knowledge-intensive and digital nation, at the forefront of innovation, acting as a talent hub for technology, outsourcing, creative industries, and education offering best in class regulation, abundant funding and world-class digital talent.
This adoption of the digital transformation strategy in public institutions will constitute a fundamental driver of the digital economy’s development and will attract investors, operators, solution owners, and entrepreneurs. There is no doubt that the digital transformation will help create a new economic dynamic without putting pressure on the state budget, because of the public-private partnership law that will help improve the state’s public services.
In the last decade, many government initiatives like Circular 331 fuelled the Lebanese Knowledge Economy (LKE) and vitalised the country’s nascent entrepreneurial ecosystem, helping to establish technology companies, small and medium enterprises, as well as start-ups which are stepping up their ambitions and perspectives, and the landscape for these companies is responding. Today, with over 100 investments having taken place between 2013-2016 and with Lebanon hosting 13% of the total number of investors in MENA, Lebanon is one of the thriving capitals of digital innovation in the MENA and is well positioned to become the region’s digital cluster.
Digital Lebanon Conference
Digital Lebanon Conference will convene 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 Investment and Technology, the Office of the Minister of State for Administrative Reforms (OMSAR), the Office of the Prime Minister, and the World Bank.
It aims to bring the brightest minds to discuss the institutional bases for building the future of Lebanon’s economy… the digital economy. It will discuss Lebanon’s digital strategy and the most pressing topics that will help 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 will also focus 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 will discuss 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. 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. 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.
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
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
Sharif El-Badawi currently serves as Managing Partner at 500 Startups, the most active venture capital firm in the world. In his role, he manages 500 Startups' MENA fund, focusing on seed stage investments in the Middle East and North Africa. In addition, Sharif is the Chairman of the Board and Head Mentor at TechWadi, where he leads the TW100 mentors and helps bridge MENA startups with Silicon Valley. He also serves on several advisory boards for startups in the MENA region and Silicon Valley.
Previously, Sharif was the Partner Lead to VCs and Startups at Google where he worked with top tier VCs and their most promising startups on strategies that bring all of Google to their businesses. Joining from AdMob almost 7 prior, he led performance advertising strategy for Google's largest customers in North America covering Mobile, Search and Display ads.
Before AdMob, Sharif was a technologist and serial entrepreneur having founded or co-founded several companies in the Consumer Internet and B2B space over twelve years.
Sharif earned his MBA from UC Irvine Merage School of Business and his BS in Neuroscience from UCLA.
Abdulaziz Al Loughani
Managing PartnerFaith Capital
Abdulaziz Al Loughani is the Managing Partner with Faith Capital.
Previously, Abdulaziz was the founding Vice Chairman (Executive) of the Kuwait National Fund for SMEs Development, a USD 7bn independent public institution responsible for developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Kuwait (2013-2017).
Prior to this role, he was a co-founder and Managing Partner of Talabat.com until 2010, and has since then been investing in technology startups and involved in a number of local and regional entrepreneurial initiatives.
Previously, he was a Director at Global Capital Management, the alternative investments arm of Global Investment House “Global” and was responsible for establishing a Venture Capital practice at Global. He has played a major role in managing key investments within the Private Equity Group of Global by handling various assignments on corporate restructuring, business planning, deal structuring, due diligence and managing portfolio companies to exit. Abdulaziz has served as an executive and member of board on a number of companies within the MENA region in the technology, banking, healthcare, manufacturing, consumer finance, food & beverage and real estate sectors.
Abdulaziz holds a Bachelor's degree - double major in Information Systems and E-Commerce from University of Toledo, and an MBA degree from London Business School.
Chief Executive OfficerEvoteq
Jihad Tayara is the Chief Executive Officer for Evoteq, a key subsidiary and digital transformation catalyst under the Bee’ah’s group of companies.
Jihad is responsible for formulating the strategic direction of the company, and for cementing its position as the region’s premier technology management partner; by developing impactful and disruptive technology solutions that increase efficiency, support business growth, and fuel digital innovation. Under Jihad’s leadership, Evoteq has undertaken several large-scale projects; such as managing the largest municipal digital transformation project in the GCC; deploying Sharjah’s first blockchain platform; and establishing a revolutionary track-and-trace application, Smart Track, to fortify and secure global healthcare supply chains.
Prior to joining Bee’ah, Jihad was the Vice President for ICT Commercial at du, leading new smart initiatives and collaborations for digital transformation for Smart City, IoT, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Cloud & Smart Solutions. He was responsible for leading several key projects there, such as Dubai Pulse, the most comprehensive smart city platform in the region with Smart Dubai. Jihad has won several recognitions and awards for this project, at forums such as Telecom World ME, COMMS MEA & Telecom Review Summit. Jihad was also responsible for the implementation of Hassantuk, a nationwide IoT solution with Injazat for the Ministry of Interior; Dubai Silicon Oasis’ first smart district and the national CRM program for all government entities, with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority; and the first smart city Wi-Fi UAE initiative.
Before proving his mettle at du, Jihad had worked for Motorola Networks in Dubai, Orascom in Cairo and Investcom in Beirut. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications Engineering from the American University of Beirut, and a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Cambridge.
Acting Chairman/General ManagerTripoli Special Economic Zone
Having more than sixteen years of experience in Management and Business Development with core expertise in free and economic zones’ development, Dr. Hassan Dennaoui was appointed in April 2019 as acting Chairman/General Manager of the Tripoli Special Economic Zone Authority (TSEZ) after 4 years working as an advisor to the former TSEZ chairman H.E. Raya Haffar El Hassan.
Dr. Dennaoui has an international and regional experience as being previously in several managerial and consultancy positions with SUEZ Environnement (France, KSA and Lebanon) and Khatib & Alami (GCC and Levant) offering strategy, management and technical consultancies for regional economic zones (King Abdullah Economic City, Duqm Special Economic Zone, Salalah Free Zone, etc…).
Holding of a PhD in Management Information System, Masters in Computer Communication Engineering and Masters in Applied Mathematics, Dr. Dennaoui is currently a lecturer in the business and technology fields in many Lebanese universities.
Founder & CEOMiddle East Venture Partners (MEVP)
Walid has been active in venture capital and in new venture development for the past 19 years with 50+ VC investments executed since 2010.
Prior to founding MEVP and growing its AUM to $260M, Walid was the CEO of Dubai International Capital's venture arm "the Arab Business Angels Network" (ABAN), which managed a regional seed venture fund as well as the first Business Angels network in the Arab World. Prior to ABAN he has served on the investment-management team of Abraaj Capital.
Walid has co-founded, invested in, led and exited several startups in the MENA region, spanning a range of industries with a focus on technology.
In May 2017, Mr. Mohamed Al Abbar has acquired a non-controlling stake in MEVP.
Walid has received a Bachelor's degree in Economics from McGill University (Canada), and a Masters in Finance from H.E.C (France).
Opening Session 1: Fuelling Growth1 hour
- National strategy to develop digital economy in Lebanon
- Accelerating digital transformation in government
- Lebanon 2020 Telecom Vision
- McKinsey Report: a roadmap for change
Networking Break30 minutes
Session 2: Positioning Lebanon on the Global Digital Economy Map1 hour and 30 minutes
- Developing the Infrastructure
- Developing Lebanon’s brand as a digital hub for outsourcing, research, analytics and content generation and distribution
- Virtual and physical infrastructure and the outlook of 5G in Lebanon and potential impact
- National Data Centre project and Investment opportunities in the infrastructure
- Tripoli Special Free Zone and the Knowledge Innovation Centre
- Role of Lebanese Diaspora in mobilizing global digital players and investments into Lebanon
Session 3: Digital Transformation1 hour and 30 minutes
- Global Experience: Driving Digital transformation in Government: G2G, G2B, G2C
- Digitalization across several sectors: banking, healthcare, education, energy, transportation…
- The e-Lira initiative: Integrating the payments sector with public services
- The Role of the Private Sector in Building the Human Capacity needed for Digitization
Session 4: The Rise of Digital Everything1 hour and 15 minutes
- The future of e-government and public digital services in the digital everything era
- Reimagining the consumer lifecycle with revolutionized payments
- Financial innovation: the hype and the reality
- Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Blockchain and potential applications in Lebanon
- Autonomous and Connected Cars
Networking Lunch1 hour and 15 minutes
Session 5: The Digital Champions1 hour
- Strengthening and streamlining the entrepreneurial ecosystem and culture
- Empowering local incubators and accelerators
- Enhancing access to capital and finance
- Fostering Innovation through powering start-ups
- Helping successful start-ups to scale up regionally and globally
Concluding panel with HE Saad Hariri1 hour
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