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Zain reveals new thought-leadership report at WEF Davos, which links innovation to overcoming regional challenges ​​

Entitled 'Bringing the Future Closer with Innovation',report emphasizes the role of innovation in overcoming prevalent socio-economic deficits and promote overall human development

Findings conveyed at World Economic Forum in Davos

Kuwait City, Davos – 24 January, 2016

Zain Group, a leading mobile telecom innovator in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa, announces the publication of its latest thought-leadership report entitled, 'Bringing the Future Closer with Innovation: Pursuing Innovation as a Means to Overcome Challenges in the MENA Region'. The report sets about illustrating the indispensable role of innovation in achieving sustainable development and transitioning towards a knowledge-based economy, from a regional perspective.

The report was revealed and discussed at the annual World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland 20-23 January, 2016, where Zain Group CEO, Scott Gegenheimer; Emre Gurkan, Group Chief Strategy and Business Development Officer; and the Group's Head of Corporate Sustainability, Jennifer Suleiman, conveyed the findings of the report liaising with leading political and economic personalities from across the globe.

Importantly the report emphasised the role of innovation in enabling the MENA region to overcome prevalent socioeconomic deficits and promote overall human development. It addresses the question: "How can stakeholders in the region come together to further society's innovative capacity as a means to driving sustainable, inclusive growth while promoting human development?"

Commenting on the release of the report, Scott Gegenheimer said, "Given the high-profile nature of our business, and the profound impact it is able to have on people's lives across the region, we feel it is our responsibility to publish information that offers insights into how innovation and technology in general can drastically improve living standards."

Gegenheimer continued, "As with any region in the world, MENA faces specific challenges that we can overcome collectively through our desire of a more enabling environment. From Zain's perspective, our ties to the region run deep, and we look forward to continuing to render support and inspiration that results in positive outcome to people's lives even beyond our own customer base."
The challenges faced by the region include: high unemployment (particularly amongst youth); insufficient economic growth; undiversified economies; ongoing socio-economic exclusion and inequality; high rates of displacement due to conflict; an innovation deficit; and high vulnerability to climate change, to name only some.

Jennifer Suleiman commented, "Corporate social responsibility and sustainability initiatives represent an integral part of Zain Group's strategy and are taken very seriously at all levels of the organization. Our thought-leadership efforts are an opportunity for us to review the factors that can aid socio-economic development from a technological standpoint, and also gives us a chance to draw attention to our own efforts given our position as a leading regional innovator."

Bringing the Future Closer with Innovation: Pursuing Innovation as a Means to Overcome Regional Challenges in the MENA Region showcases Zain's innovation by providing case studies undertaken by the company including:

  • The F.U.N Developmental workshops in Zain Bahrain aims to build the entrepreneurship drive and empowers youth through the practical know-how on setting up a business.
  • The Zain Bahrain E-Learning Cener located at the University of Bahrain was launched in 2006 and includes a range of facilities such as Smart Boards, E-Content and a dedicated e-learning facility.
  • The #5ameesnaZain initiative launched by Zain Bahrain to support local business and entrepreneurial talents across Zain's social media channel and through a quarterly visit to the headquarter in 2015 and 2016.
  • The Zain Innovation Center (ZINC) in Jordan dedicated for the purpose of building and empowering a more vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Jordan;
  • The Zain Great Idea challenge in Kuwait that aims to generate and incubate fresh new ideas in the country;
  • The Taaleb E-Learning Project in Kuwait, an online education portal that links students, parents and teachers through a digital platform to improve communication between the parties and make educational process more effective that has seen over 650,000 register;
  • The Smart Schools Project in Jordan highlighting the long-term benefits of familiarizing young students with the application of modern technology and exposing them to the tangible benefits that can be produced through ICT.
  • Zain's support of the MIT Enterprise Forum Pan-Arab Startup Competition to enable and assist aspiring entrepreneurs from across the region convert their startup concepts into viable businesses;
  • The Light a Candle App in Lebanon  aimed at enabling people to easily donate money towards assisting ch​ildren with cancer that saw over 770,000 people donate
  • The Family Reconnection Project that was launched in Jordan and South Sudan as part of an effort to reconnect displaced people that were separated from their loved ones due to conflict.
  • The strategic collaboration with neXgen Group, a leading regional smart city advisory and consulting services provider, for the purpose of deploying smart city solutions across the region
  • Zain's strategic partnership with Uber across the region that provides Zain customers preferential treatment when using the Uber platform, with Uber drivers benefitting from preferred telecommunication services .The partnership was recognized by the global research company, Ovum, as the most innovative service for November 2015 due to the vast opportunities for mutual gain that it provides.

    Zain believes that by developing the innovative capacity of the region through a multi-stakeholder approach, the MENA can overcome these challenges and achieve sustainable growth solutions.

    To download the complete report, currently available in English (Arabic soon to follow), please visit:


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