“MENA Telecoms Need Liberalization—Hasbani”
In an article in the April 17, 2009 issue of The Daily Star (Lebanon), Booz & Company Partner Ghassan Hasbani (Middle East) said that the absence of telecom liberalization in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) made the sector lag behind the rest of the world in cost and efficiency. “When we look at low GDP per capita markets we don’t see a drive for market liberalization which is necessary to bring prices down,” said Hasbani the 9th-annual Arab Telecom and Internet Forum in Beirut. “We don’t see as well much drive for direct foreign investment encouragement, which will help increase the GDP per capita and improve the performance of the telecom sector in the region.” Hasbani added that MENA telecom liberalization has led to a rapid increase in the number of operators, particularly in the mobile sector, which increased from 19 percent in 2000 to 44 percent in 2008.