One of those is Middle East & Africa, which is now the responsibility of Rafiah Ibrahim, Senior Vice President and formerly head of Region Middle East, so her empire has grown.
Ibrahim has been with Ericsson for more than 20 years, including a stint as President of Market Unit North Africa (August 2008 – April 2010).
Rafiah Ibrahim, Senior Vice President and head of Ericsson's Middle East & Africa Market Area.
But Ibrahim is not responsible for all of Africa: The new Market Area Europe and Latin America now being run by Arun Bansal, includes not only the aforementioned regions (with Europe including Russia) but also 'Maghreb' (Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia), Libya and Israel.
Bansal has also been with Ericsson for more than 20 years, holding a number of positions including, most recently, Head of Business Unit Network Products (July 2016 – March 2017) and Head of Business Unit Radio (May 2014- June 2016).
Arun Bansal, head of Ericsson Market Area Europe and Latin America, which includes many markets in North Africa as well as Israel.
Ibrahim and Bansal have their work cut out: Ericsson's total revenues declined in 2016 by 10% to 222.6 billion Swedish Krona (US$24.7 billion) and their territories contributed to that decline: "In 2016, a number of markets, in regions such as Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, were impacted by a weak macroeconomic environment with a negative effect on mobile broadband investments," noted the vendor in its end-of-year report.
The Middle East business, which contributed 9% of total group revenues in 2016, saw its sales dip by 16%; the Mediterranean unit (which includes North Africa last year) also pitched in 9% of group sales but its revenues dipped by 10%; while the Sub-Saharan Africa unit, which generated 4% of group sales, saw revenues dip by 11% compared with 2015.
Mobile broadband is, of course, a key focus for investment by network operators across Africa, so Ericsson, with its brand strength and history of delivering best-in-market technology, is well positioned to pitch for business from the continent's operators, but it faces strengthening competition for business, particularly from its Chinese rivals Huawei and ZTE.
Of those, Huawei is the company with wind in its sails: ZTE may have grown slightly in 2016, according to its recently-published preliminary results, but Huawei, which reported a 22.6% increase in revenues from its Europe, Africa and Middle East business to hit CNY156.5 billion ($22.7 billion) is expanding at an eye-watering pace and shows no signs of stopping, or wanting to slow down. (See ZTE Suffers $340M Net Loss on US Fine and Huawei's Sales Soar but Profit Growth Grinds to a Halt.)
— Ray Le Maistre, , International Group Editor, Light Reading for Connecting Africa.
This year did not begin the way most people expected it to, so what does the future of the telecoms sector look like in Africa in 2020? In this Connecting Africa online event, local analysts and industry stakeholders will discuss what African operators’ priorities for the year should be and the most significant market trends expected to dominate in 2020.
Will MNOs focus on sweating their current assets rather than investing in new technologies like 5G?
What impact will COVID-19 have on the continent’s networks?
What are the hot market trends in Africa when it comes to voice, data and mobile financial services?
The majority of 5G in Africa is still in the testing stage. However, as operators prepare their networks for the technology jump, what strategies are they deploying to ensure they gain the full value that 5G can offer Africa? This digital symposium will give you an insight into the opportunities and challenges facing Africa’s 5G rollout, with some country specific case studies unpacked.
How 5G-ready is African enterprise?
Is 5G a priority for in Africa, should it be? Or can operators and businesses focus on growing their 3G and 4G networks for enterprise instead?
What are the most significant enterprise business applications for 5G deployment on the continent, and where can 5G facilitate IoT applications?
Africa was the birthplace of Mobile Money and while it continues to rise in popularity, the industry is quickly evolving and launching more mobile-based financial services every day. In this Connecting Africa online event, local analysts and industry stakeholders will discuss how telcos are disrupting the financial services space and what the rise of Mobile Money 2.0 will look like for Africa.
From cash to mobile: heading towards a cashless society
Expanding MFS offerings beyond mobile money transfers
MNOs vs banks vs fintechs: an evolving competitive landscape
Unconnected and unbanked: fintech to improve financial inclusion
The rise of micro-loans and insurance through mobile platforms
Africa has the fastest growing population in the world and also the youngest, with 60% of Africans under the age of 25. It is clear that the next billion connected are going to be the mobile-only generation. This digital symposium will bring industry experts together to discuss Africa’s digital divide and how to get devices into the hands of young Africans and empower them to join the digital revolution.
Who’s Driving? The role of government & regulator, private tech companies, and public-private partnerships
Device affordability: are we reaching a tipping point?
Status check: Satellite vs Fiber and the enduring infrastructure gap
Exploring the wider societal and economic benefits of a connected, digitally literate continent