The GSMA has a strong and growing presence in the Middle East and Africa region, with a multi-disciplinary team of more than 25 staff spread across the region, in Nairobi, Dubai, Johannesburg and Lagos, as well as in London. Among the GSMA’s key activities in the region are Mobile for Development (M4D) initiatives, public policy engagements, coordination of regional interest groups and member services. To learn more about the GSMA in the Middle East and Africa region, please contact MEA@gsma.com.
Middle East and North Africa Team
Jawad Jalal Abbassi
Head of MENA
Jawad’s career experience in ICT and Media spans 21 years. Before joining the GSMA as head of MENA in October 2015, Jawad managed the Arab Advisors Group which he founded in 2001. Jawad’s previous career experience included working as a senior telecommunications and technology consultant with the Yankee Group in Boston, USA. Between 1998 and 2000, Mr. Abbassi was a Senior Analyst with the communications research arm of the Economist Intelligence Unit in Boston.
In March 2013 Jawad acted as Chairman of Jordan’s information technology association. He is also a Member of the Arab Business Forum for Information and Communication Technology ABFICT, and a Member of the steering committee for UN ICT Task Force of the “Wireless Internet and the Arab-World” series. He was chosen for membership in the Young Arab Leaders Organization, and is a frequent guest speaker at conferences and seminars related to technology, communications and media in the Arab World.
Jawad holds an MSc in Information Systems from the London School of Economics, and a BSc in engineering from the American University in Cairo, Egypt (1993). In 2010, he attended Harvard Business School Executive Education.
Head of Strategic Engagement for the Middle East & North Africa
Ammar Hamadien is the Head of Strategic Engagement for the GSMA in the Middle East and North Africa. His career in the ICT industry started in the Silicon Valley in the early 90s, where he worked for Fortune 500 companies such as HP and Cisco Systems. Before joining the GSMA, he was Managing Director of a mobile operator in Mauritania. Ammar also held senior level positions with Mobile Network Operators in Mauritania, Kuwait, Bahrain, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates.
Ammar holds a MBA in Telecommunications Management from Imperial College London Business School, and a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems from San Jose State University in USA.
Public Policy Director, MENA
Mohamed’s career experience in ICT spans 15 years. Before joining the GSMA as Public Policy Director – MENA in February 2017, Mohamed managed advisory and strategic consulting in the telecommunications regulation within PwC in all the African French speaking countries within MENA. Mohamed’s previous career experience included working as a senior manager Regulatory Affairs for Ooredoo Group in Qatar, between 2014 and 2016, where he provided support to the 11 Ooredoo operators worldwide and participated to several missions across Ooredoo’s footprint. Before that, Mohamed was the head of Regulatory Affairs and Wholesale Business Department at Ooredoo Tunisia for four years.
In addition to regulatory affairs and wholesale experience, Mohamed’s telecommunications experience also includes a role in 2003 as an engineer at the technical department of Ooredoo Tunisia where he ended in 2009 as Head of Rollout of the mobile network of Ooredoo Tunisia. Meanwhile, Mohamed was chosen by Orascom Holding in early 2009 to participate in the mission to restructure the newly acquired operator in Central African Republic (Telecel CAR) as a Head of Rollout.
Mohamed holds a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Tunis School of Engineering (2001).
Office Manager, Middle East office, Dubai
Quincy D’Silva works in capacity of Office Manager for the Middle East office based in Dubai. She commenced her career in 1999 in Customer Service and has worked in diverse roles such as HR Officer, HR Generalist, Office Manager, Executive Assistant and Corporate Executive Assistant with multiple organisations, including DSA Architects Dubai, AGR Petroleum Middle East, Hotel Dynamics Group and Mohammed Hareb Al Otaiba. She has over 11 years of experience managing various administrative and HR functions and has extensive knowledge and understanding of the UAE labour laws.
Quincy is also an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and holds a Diploma in Human Resource from Bradfield Group in Dubai.
Sub Saharan Africa Team
Head of Africa
Akinwale Goodluck is a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and has had a career spanning Investment Banking, Legal Practise and in the last 15 years been engaged in the ICT & mobile communications sector working for MTN Nigeria Communications Limited for 14 years, 7 of which was at Executive level with primary responsibility for the management of the Regulatory, Commercial Legal, Reputation, Corporate Governance and Stakeholder management risks for MTN Nigeria.
Akinwale provided leadership for the Regulatory objectives of the MTN Group Limited and all its 23 Operations spread across Africa and the Middle East. Akinwale has been recognized as an authority, respected resource person and much sought after speaker locally and internationally in the realm of ICT Regulation & other utilities.
He is an alumnus of the Lagos State University, The Nigeria Law School and the Harvard Business School. Akinwale is an avid cyclist, a friend of the Arts particularly theatre and a firm believer in Social Responsibility.
Jean Francois Le Bihan
Public Policy Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs
Jean-Francois’s career in ICT spans almost 20 years mostly in international roles with a focus on public policies and regulatory affairs.
Before joining GSMA as Public Policy Director for Sub-Saharan Africa in November 2017, Jean-Francois was Regulatory Affairs Director for Africa at Millicom supporting all its Tigo operations across the continent since 2015. He was during this time a CPROG SSA member and chaired M4D Connected Society PLG. Previously Jean-Francois was for four years Managing Director and lead consultant at EuroReg, a boutique consultancy he founded in Luxembourg.
Between 2008 and 2011 he worked for the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a United Nations specialized agency. Prior to ITU, he was in charge of cost modeling, universal service and overseas mobile termination at ARCEP, the French regulator for telecoms and posts. During the first part of his career he held technical roles in Luxembourg with America Online (AOL), in Germany at a wireless local loop operator and in France for 3G rollouts.
He graduated from Telecom Sud Paris engineering school and holds a Master in European Studies from Sciences Po Paris and another one in International Governance from St. Gallen University in Switzerland.
Market Engagement Director Africa, Mobile Money
Gerry is the Market Engagement Director in Africa for the Mobile Money programme. In this role, he supports the deepening of the GSMA’s regional Mobile Money engagement, through the development of more successful mobile money services.
Prior to joining the GSMA, Gerry was the Technical Lead, Agent Network Group at Enclude Solutions (formerly ShoreBank International & Triodos Facet). He has a wealth of experience in the branchless banking arena, notably from the world acclaimed M-PESA, where he pioneered the set-up of the agent network in Kenya that was responsible for taking financial services closer to the people. Gerry is also experienced in designing and building agent networks which support financial inclusion, having worked on the bKash initiative in Bangladesh, the first of its kind. Gerry has also worked on initiatives in other regions and countries including Uganda, Fiji Islands, India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Peru, Ethiopia and most recently Brazil.
Gerry has worked globally with numerous telecom partners and financial institutions. In addition to strong experience in sales and distribution across East Africa and the Pacific region, Gerry has interacted with regulatory bodies to help formulate policies for Mobile Financial Services. Gerry has also co-published an agent training document.
Market Engagement Director – Sub-Saharan Africa, M4D
Ilana Cohen is the Africa Project Manager, Mobile for Development Utilities Programme. She is responsible for supporting the Innovation Fund in Africa through advisory to applicants and grantees, and for building relationships with the Mobile for Development Utilities ecosystem comprising MNOs, tower companies, ESCOs, WSPs, academics and NGOs. Prior to joining the GSMA she spent 2 years as a consultant in water and sanitation services, including the application of mobile tools. She was involved in research and organization of the World Bank led Water and Sanitation Hackathons in London. Prior to this she worked as an environmental consultant carrying out environmental impact assessments.
Ilana holds an MSc from Oxford University in Water Science, Policy and Management and a Bachelors in Biology from Brandeis University.
Strategic Engagement Director for Africa
Angela is the Strategic Engagement Director for Africa. Her role works collaboratively, internally and externally, within the region, and helps our members to move forward on collaborative industry agendas.
Angela’s keen interest in technology has led her to spend over a decade in the mobile industry, having spent much of that time with Safaricom, where she started as a Network Planning Engineer to having ran departments within the technology division. While serving at Safaricom, she was the first and only, senior woman in the technology division’s leadership team, where she served for a period of 6 years. During this time, she led two departments and was instrumental in delivering the two undersea cables linking Kenya to the world, revolutionizing mobile broadband in Kenya, and spearheading Safaricom’s network IP Transformation & Modernization program. She is also passionate about redefining business in society for all to benefit. In addressing the challenges faced in growing women talent in the technology domain in Kenya, she founded Safaricom’s Women in Technology in 2011, an unbounded organization that tackles the talent pipeline for women in the industry in Kenya towards ‘advancing women from the classroom to the boardroom’.
Angela also holds a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Nairobi and holds an EMBA from University of Capetown’s Graduate School of Business.
Regulatory Director, Mobile Money
Brian Muthiora is a Senior Mobile Money Regulatory Specialist. In this role he provides tailored support to mobile operators in Sub Sahara Africa and MENA regions helping them find solutions to the regulatory barriers inhibiting the growth of their mobile money services. He also contributes to designing and delivering GSMA’s key advocacy messages targeted at regulatory audiences in the region.
Brian is a regulatory practitioner with over 14 years corporate legal and regulatory experience spanning converged telecommunications and digital financial services. He joined the GSMA from Safaricom where he served as the Legal Counsel Business Partner, Financial Services (M-PESA) and contributed to the development of Kenya’s digital financial services regulatory framework.
Brian is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and holds LLB and LLM degrees.
Senior Market Engagement Manager, Africa
Martin is the Senior Market Engagement Manager for the Ecosystem Accelerator programme, based out of Nairobi. He is in charge of leading the Market Engagement team who build and develop relationships with mobile operators and start-ups in Africa and South and Southeast Asia, and supports the start-ups the programme funds through its Innovation Fund, and beyond.
Before joining GSMA, Martin has worked for Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Symantec Corporation, Airtel Africa, and Orange Telkom Kenya among others, and brings a expertise in the ICT/Telecom industry across Sub-Saharan Africa, including Marketing and Business Development, Product Development and Technology Distribution.
Martin holds a Degree in International Business Administration from United States International University Nairobi, Kenya, and a Diploma in Technology Distribution from Global Technology Distribution Council, Grenoble France
Marketing Engagement Manager, Ecosystem Accelerator
Gregory is the Marketing Engagement Manager for the Ecosystem Accelerator Programme, based in Nairobi. His key roles are identifying and coaching applicants to the Innovation Fund, mentoring startups, supporting regional and local operators in their efforts to develop start-up friendly strategies, promoting robust partnership between startups and mobile operators, building and managing other relationships with regional and local stakeholders.
Prior to joining GSMA, Gregory was the Innovation Engagement Officer – Africa at Ushahidi under the Making All Voices Count Programme, an international initiative that contributes towards effective governance and accountability by enabling citizens engagement and open, responsive government in 12 countries in Africa and Asia, his key roles involved identifying, assessing, selecting, contracting, and managing grantees. He has also worked as a Research Assistant at @iLabAfrica, an innovation research centre at Strathmore University.
Gregory holds a Masters of Science Degree in Mobile Telecommunication Innovation and a Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Information Technology, both from Strathmore University, Kenya.
Market Engagement Manager, Ecosystem Accelerator
As a Market Engagement with the Ecosystem Accelerator team, Peter builds and develops relationships with mobile operators and start-ups across Africa and South and Southeast Asia, and manages the Innovation Fund’s portfolio of startups.
Peter joins us from the Mobile for Development Utilities team where he supported energy, water and sanitation grantees in Africa and engaged with relevant stakeholders through events, research and publications. Prior to joining M4D Peter was a consultant with the Digital Finance Plus team at CGAP where he developed tools for collecting and analyzing customer, market and financial data for PAYG energy providers.
Peter holds a degree in Economics with concentrations in Finance and Chinese Studies from New York University and is currently pursuing his CFA charter.
Technical Expert , Mobile for Development mHealth
Willie Ngumi is the mHealth Technical Expert, Mobile for Development. Prior to taking up this role at the GSMA, Willie worked with the CDC Foundation / mHealth Kenya, providing technical support for the conceptualization, design and deployment of mHealth applications through Public Private Partnerships. PPP’s involved bringing together various arms of the Ministry of Health, private software developers and mobile network operators to develop sustainable mHealth interventions covering Health System strengthening, social behaviour change communication and supply management.
Willie has an MBA in Strategic Management from the University of Nairobi and a BSc. in Computer Science from Africa Nazarene University.
Project Manager , Mobile for Development mHealth
Mojca’s is mHealth Project Manager, mHealth. She oversees the Pan-African mHealth Initiative in South Africa.
Mojca started her career in a Slovenian Bank, working very closely with SMEs, where she became Deputy Branch Manager. After three years she decided to move to London and pursue an MBA and CIMA studies. While studying she developed a passion for adjacent markets in the mobile industry. Even though she was still studying she started working for a consultancy company focusing on MMU strategy development. With her final project (Mobile Money Strategy Development in Zambia) she outlined the importance of interrelation between MMU, mHealth, mAgri, mWomen and mLearning.
After joining the GSMA, Mojca initially worked as Programme Coordinator and Research Analyst responsible for the mHealth Tracker, sharing mHealth knowledge through various social media channels.
Market Engagement Manager, Mobile for Development Utilities
Leonard Kore is the Market Engagement Manager, Mobile for Development Utilities Programme for Africa.
Prior to joining GSMA, Leonard worked as the senior analyst for telecoms at International Data Corporation (IDC) in charge of the East Africa region. Leonard worked with telcos in consulting, research and advisory projects focusing on a variety of topics such as IoT, mobile money, broadband strategies, competitive analysis, market intelligence, opportunity assessments and Go-To market strategies. He also carried out workshops with telcos, wrote thought leadership reports and was a speaker at events. Leonard also worked as a grantee mentor short term consultant for Ushahidi under the Making All Voices Count Programme, helping a startup receive funding of a ICT for health project.
Prior to joining IDC, he had a short stint at Toyota as a management trainee. He has also worked as a Research Assistant at @iLabAfrica, working in grant management and capacity building programs.
Leonard holds a Masters of Science Degree in Mobile Telecommunication Innovation and a Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Information Technology, both from Strathmore University, Kenya.
Office Manager, Africa
Priscilla Mairura works in the capacity of Office Manager for the Sub Saharan Africa Office where she provides full support to staff and operations in Nairobi. She also plays a strategic role in facilities management and gives administrative and operational support to the Africa Team.
She has more than 12 years’ experience managing various Administrative and HR functions and has worked in various organizations at both local and regional level. Prior to joining the GSMA she worked with Heifer International’s – East Africa Regional Office (EADD) Project and Financial Access (EA) Ltd.
Priscilla holds a Diploma in Business Management from the University of Nairobi. She has received professional training in Human resources and Labour Law Audit, and Change Management among others.
Spectrum Policy Manager, SSA
Kamal is a Policy Manager on the Africa Policy Team. In his role, Kamal is involved in the delivery of GSMA Advocacy programmes in the Sub-Saharan Africa region and the dissemination of messages on a wide variety of policy topics, including Spectrum.
He has worked with the Nigerian Telecoms Regulator and, prior to joining the GSMA, he worked with Etisalat Nigeria where he managed Regulatory Compliance, Spectrum Policy and Technical Regulatory matters. Kamal has also been a member of the Technical Advisory Committee that prepares Nigeria’ s participation at International fora on spectrum and other technical matters.
Kamal holds a B.Sc in Computer Engineering from the American University of Cyprus and an M.Sc in Mobile and Personal Communications from King’s College London. In his spare time, he indulges in Photography and has been spotted cheering for Manchester United Football Club.
Advocacy and Regulatory Manager, Mobile Money
Juliet is the Advocacy and Regulatory Manager, Mobile Money, Mobile for Development. In this role, she is responsible for shaping positions taken by some of the world’s largest and most influential companies. She is directly involved in the dialogue between regulators, business, and public interest groups and speaks regularly at conferences to build a broad network of players in the industry. Juliet is also responsible for authoring content that should become the reference materials for policymakers and private sector actors seeking to understand the future of mobile money regulation.
Juliet joins the GSMA from the law firm TripleOKLaw Advocates, where she was responsible for setting up and leading the Telecommunications, Media and Technology (TMT) practice. She has experience working at the ICT regulator in Kenya, and Pygma Consulting, an ICT Consulting firm in South Africa.
Juliet received her LL. B with Honors from the University of Birmingham, UK in 2010 and later completed a Master’s program in ICT Policy and Regulation at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. Additionally, she has completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration at the Milpark Business School, South Africa.
Regulatory Specialist, Mobile Money
Kennedy is a Regulatory Specialist, Mobile Money, Mobile for Development. In this role, he is responsible for shaping positions taken by some of the largest and most influential companies in Sub-Saharan Africa and MENA and helping them find solutions to the regulatory barriers. He also contributes to designing and delivering GSMA’s key advocacy messages targeted at regulatory audiences in the region.
Kennedy brings on board a wealth of experience from Safaricom Limited where he has worked in various roles in the past 9 years of his career. He has had vast exposure to converged telecommunications services and mobile money. Before Joining GSMA he worked at Safaricom Limited for 9 years where he specialized in Regulatory and Public Policy as well as Financial Services with an emphasis on Customer Management. While at the Regulatory & Public Policy department, Kennedy was responsible for the management of regulatory compliance and reporting which entailed tracking of enterprise wide compliance with regulatory obligations. In the Financial Services Division (M-PESA), he was a Training & Testing Analyst and was part of the team that ensured success in the migration of the M-PESA system to a new platform (Bringing M-PESA Home).
Kennedy is credited with setting up quality checks for Social Media in the Customer Management Division and won the CEO’s award as well as the Best Employee award in the Customer Experience department.
Kennedy has a degree in Education (Economics & Geography) from Moi University and a Master’s Degree in Communications from the University of Nairobi
Senior Market Engagement Manager, IPN Hub
Lema is the Lead for the Mobile Money Instant Payment Notification (IPN) Hub. IPN Hub is an industry utility developed by the GSMA that provides a single point of integration between mobile money providers and the growing Pay-as-you-go sector. Lema is responsible for the strategic development and scaling of the IPN Hub across Africa to connect all the major mobile operators to PAYG service providers.
Prior to joining GSMA, Lema worked at Fenix International, a next generation energy and financial services company, as it scaled its operations into several markets in Africa, including Uganda, Kenya and Zambia. Previously, Lema worked at the Equity Group Foundation in Nairobi, Kenya, where he ran digital innovation projects geared towards transforming the livelihoods of low income individuals in Africa through financial access. Before that, Lema has worked at Intel Corp (UK) and InMobi (Africa). Lema holds a BSc in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University.”
Market Engagement Manager, Africa, Connected Women
Adrine is the GSMA Connected Women Market Engagement Manager for Africa charged with the responsibility of working with MNO’s and their partners to bridge the Gender gap and get more women in low and middle class markets to use mobile money and mobile internet for the greater good. She also manages all commitments made by partners across Africa.
Adrine has over 10 years working experience with her career being predominantly in Marketing, Before Joining GSMA she worked at Safaricom Limited for 5 years, starting off as the M-PESA Brand Manager responsible for Advertising and driving usage of M-PESA among customers, a role she performed for 4 years before moving to manage Safaricom Brand communication. Prior to this she worked in the FMCG industry with Reckitt Benckiser, Nestle & Brookside Dairy Ltd in both Sales and Marketing capacities.
She holds a Degree in Business Administration, Marketing Major from Nazarene University and a Master’s Degree in Strategic Management from the University of Nairobi.
Market Engagement Manager Africa, Mobile Money
Nicholas is the Market Engagement Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa in the Mobile Money Team, based in Nairobi. He works closely with mobile operators, supporting them in developing successful mobile money services.
Nic has had over 10 years’ experience in telecommunications. Prior to joining the GSMA, Nic worked in various roles in Safaricom Ltd where he delivered the commercial and strategic objectives for the entire range of products and services in Mobile Financial Services.
He was instrumental in the development, launch and bringing to scale merchant payments – Lipa na M-PESA and other various tailored products. He also led several cross functional teams that delivered the M-PESA tariffs, the monitoring system and loyalty programs for M-PESA Agents and Merchants.
Nic holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Mathematics and is currently pursuing a Professional Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), UK.
Advocacy Marketing Manager, Africa and Middle East
Wangari Karuoya is the Advocacy Marketing Manager, Africa and Middle East and is based in Nairobi. Wangari manages local implementation of the annual marketing and communications plan, region-specific marketing content and regional and in-country campaigns to increase awareness and action within target audience groups. She works very closely with colleagues and programmes focused across both regions. Prior to joining the GSMA she worked with Save the Children International, a Non- Governmental Organization that deals with issues of health, education and child protection as the Campaign and Communication Officer.
Wangari holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the United States International University and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Development Communication at the same institution.
Senior Market Engagement Manager, Mobile for Development – Utilities
As the Senior Market Engagement Manager for the Mobile for Development Utilities team, Nafeesa supports both innovation fund grantees and mobile operators to leverage commercially sustainable partnerships, infrastructure and synergies that unlock access to energy, sanitation and water services for underserved populations.
Nafeesa has worked with mobile operators in diverse emerging markets including Afghanistan, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi. Her experience with both corporate and start-up companies has offered Nafeesa the opportunity to be part of and lead several large scale projects within the areas of in Corporate Strategy, Management Reporting, Business Development and Investor Relations. More recently, Nafeesa was a telecommunications consultant with Industrial Promotion Services (IPS) where she supported due diligence projects for 3 operations in East Africa.
Nafeesa hold a Bachelors in Health Sciences degree from Western University in London, Ontario (Canada).