Regional participants play key role in discussion during MWC18 Ministerial Programme and conferences

Start: Tuesday 6 March 2018

End: Tuesday 6 March 2018

CEOs and senior managers of América Móvil, Millicom, Telefónica, Telecom Argentina and TIM Brasil were leading participants in the key discussion of the Ministerial Programme at MWC18, the meeting place in Barcelona for the most influential companies in the mobile ecosystem and ICT ministers from around the world. The session “Embedding sustainability into mobile business models” was opened by Sebastián Cabello, Head of Latin America, GSMA, and included a series of discussions about the future of the mobile industry and how technology is contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

The Latin American session, the only one in Spanish during the Ministerial Programme, began with a talk between Yolanda Martínez, National Digital Strategy Coordinator, Mexico, and Virginia Nakagawa Morales, Vice Minister of Communications, Peru, moderated by Rodrigo Arias, Content Lead, Technology, media and digital industries, World Economic Forum. “If we really want to achieve the SDGs, we have to use technology and the internet as the key enabler of every goal,” Martínez said.

The talk was followed by a keynote given by Javier Cortés, United Nations Global Compact, Head of Local Networks, Americas, about how companies can adapt with sustainability in mind. “To generate business value today, business models must be aligned with social needs, and the SDGs are a great opportunity to converge public and private priorities,” Cortés said.

The highlight of the session was the panel discussion “Integrating mobile growth with social responsibility”, between participants Juan Carlos Archila, Executive Vice President, International Relations, América Móvil; Carlos Moltini, CEO, Telecom and Cablevision Argentina; Alfonso Gomez Palacio, President, Telefónica Hispam North; Esteban Iriarte, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Millicom; and Luis Minoru Shibata, Chief Strategy Officer, TIM Brasil. The mobile industry leaders said that the digital economy is generating wellbeing across Latin America, but regulatory modernisation is essential to encourage investment and ensure sustainability in the long term.

Policymaking for the dynamic digital age

Andrés Ibarra, Minister of Modernisation, Argentina, took part in the 2018 Ministerial Programme, giving a keynote during the session “Policymaking for the dynamic digital age”. “We believe that the digital future will include Argentina as a major player and we want to reach a level of convergence that includes all levels. A person who’s not connected to their country or the world will find it very hard to reach their full potential,” Ibarra said.

The other participants in this session were Johannes Gungl, CEO of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Austrian Regulatory Authority (RTR); Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner, FCC, United States of America; and Mustafa Jabbar, Minister for Post, Telecommunications and Information Technology, Bangladesh.

Gender diversity in the digital ecosystem

Gender diversity as a driver of innovation and business competitiveness was another key topic at MWC18. Susana Balbo, Chair of W20 Argentina, gave a keynote during the Women4Tech session in the main conference and took part in a discussion panel of women entrepreneurs in 4YFN with representatives from PwC, Unilever, ITU, eWorldwide Group and the United Nations.

“The economic benefits of incorporating women into the workforce and the economic impact of women entrepreneurs are extensive. Women need technology for employment and financial inclusion. Digital inclusion is a strategic area for women’s development,” Balbo said.

The mobile gender gap was also addressed during the Ministerial Programme. Carolina Cosse, Minister of Energy and Mining, Uruguay, took part in the session “Expanding digital services to the next billion”, where she said girls must be taught science and maths.

The GSMA is Topic Chair of the digital inclusion theme and has a key role in W20, one of the G20 engagement groups, tasked with formulating public policy recommendations to promote specific improvements in women’s financial autonomy.

Opportunities and challenges for a regional digital market

Organised by GSMA Latin America, CAF -Development Bank of Latin America- and Cullen International, the roundtable on the creation of a regional digital market brought together digital ecosystem companies and international organisations including the OECD and COMTELCA, as well as representatives from Ministries of Communications and regulatory authorities of Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Ecuador and Brazil. The discussion focused on how to harmonise trade, competition and regulation policies to take the digital economy a step further on the path of innovation and growth.

MWC18 attracted global ecosystem leaders

More than 107,000 visitors representing 205 countries attended Mobile World Congress 2018. More than 53 per cent of attendees held senior-level positions, including 7,700 CEOs, up from more than 6,100 CEOs who attended in 2017. The Ministerial Programme 2018 hosted delegations from 181 countries and international organisations, including 71 ministers and 85 regulatory authority heads, with total attendance exceeding 2,000 delegates. Mobile World Congress 2019 will be on from 25 to 28 February 2019 in Barcelona.