• 2022 represented an opportunity for business leaders to re-assess evolved business landscapes, reconfigure operating models, invest in technology upgrades, action opportunistic value accreditive transactions, and make an effort to restore earnings momentum

Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Johannesburg, South Africa: 

Premier United Arab Emirates-based telecom, media, and technology (TMT) strategic communications consultancy, Pursuit Mode Initiatives, publisher of the Comm. Decisive Dozen, has disclosed its latest ranking of the Middle East and Africa’s (MEA) most effective telco executive leaders in 2022.

The top 12 executives included in the list are ranked based on the subjective interpretation of strategic decisions taken during the course of 2022, with the wider impact, repercussions and context of such decisions on the organisation’s operating environment being taken into consideration in weighting the executive’s effectiveness during the period. 

Comm. Decisive Dozen was first published in 2011, and has been considered a bellwether for the impact of major strategic developments in the MEA ever since. In the latest compilation of the ranking, 2022 stands out as the first full-year in which the world has attempted to underline regularity following the period of turbulence caused by the global pandemic between 2019 and 2021.

As was the case with business leaders across sectors, within the telecom space, CEOs spent 2022 re-assessing evolved business landscapes, reconfiguring operating models, looking for and actioning opportunistic value accretive transactions, investing in technology upgrades, and making an effort to restore earnings momentum.

Strong oil prices, and government-initiated infrastructure programmes buoyed the confidence and performance of many of the regional telco groups in the Middle East, with a number of them embarking on regional and international investment trails. Investment in high-speed infrastructure and a bid to drive data revenues through applications such as fintech, gaming, and enterprise solutions, remained defining themes for operators across the MEA in 2022.

Tawanda Chihota, Executive Director of Pursuit Mode Initiatives commented, “2022 has really been about dusting off business plans that may have been shelved during the last couple of years of the pandemic, and entering execution mode. Executive leaders in the telco space in the MEA have a whole swathe of strategic priorities to balance given the especially critical role connectivity plays in national economies in the region, in respect of mobile money and payments, for example.”

Chihota continued, “The pandemic appears to have catalysed the segmentation of viable businesses from those that were possibly weakened over that period of disruption, and I believe some of the dealmaking we witnessed in 2022 was as a direct result of this pandemic-induced overhang.”

“The telecom sector in the MEA is in rude health, as the positive financial results in 2022 for many of the operators attest to. Future growth prospects also appear strong as digitisation throws up all manner of opportunities to drive connectivity further.  I applaud all the executives included in this list for their tenacity and talent, which is having a marked impact on the sector and beyond globally.”

Investment in fibre and 5G networks continued in earnest across the MEA in 2022, in a bid to meet the ongoing demand for higher-speed networks that came into focus during the pandemic, with enterprise services also proving a viable area of development. Data revenues as a percentage of overall service revenues continued to rise within the telco community, with data applications – be they gaming or financial services - becoming ever more immersive as network speeds and bandwidth support them. 

2022 also witnessed the launches, exits, and strategic manoeuvrings of a number of operators, which suggests consolidation and efficiency drives are likely to again come to the fore following the caution-induced years of the pandemic.

The full list of the 12 executives to be included in the 2023 edition of the Comm. Decisive Dozen rankings may be found here: https://joom.ag/636d