7th and 8TH OF MAY 2013 – JUMEIRAH CREEKSIDE HOTEL, DUBAI – UAE
A WORD FROM GROUP CEO
In May, LAP GreenN held its semi-annual strategic meeting in Dubai,
bringing together the Group and all our operators to celebrate our
achievements to date and share our vision for going forward. This
two-day event was a huge success for us, with members from the
operations talking to each other as a group, rather than as separate
entities. We initiated this programme at our first strategic meeting
in Entebbe last November, where the Group agreed to set a
common strategy across all OpCos. As our second meeting, this
gathering was extremely encouraging, with everyone involved
clearly heading towards a common purpose.
We also welcomed many guests to the event, including our billing
partner, Tecnotree, who presented their vision for the future of
billing. In line with our commitment to remaining up to date with
industry developments, we invited our strategic advisers to present
the latest technology and telecoms trends, and representatives
from Greenwich Consulting also gave an in depth talk on Mobile
Money. This created an informative atmosphere for attendees, and
encouraged an open discussion around in-country experiences.
We also reaffirmed our ambition to become a global telecoms
operator – among the top 50 worldwide in the next five years. Our
shareholders and Board are fully united in this vision, and we are
excited to work towards this goal together by building scale in the
countries in which we have a presence, and by exploring a number
of M&A opportunities. Over the past 12 months, we have built a
capable new team at LAP GreenN and at the management level of
each of the OpCos. We are confident that this, coupled with market
opportunities and the support of our shareholders, is a formula for
Over the past 18 months, we have made tremendous progress in
extremely difficult environments. The conflict in Libya and the
sanctions against Libyan assets proved a very challenging time for
us, and as a result we have had to negotiate with several African
governments to regain and manage our existing assets.
Last year, one of our OpCos achieved positive EBITDA for the first
time since acquisition in 2010, and we have narrowed our losses
across the board, notably in Uganda and South Sudan. We are
preparing to launch in Sierra Leone with a new MD at the helm, and
are hoping to achieve this over the course of the next six months.
Simultaneously, we are building new partnerships, negotiating
better terms with our suppliers, and finally upgrading our
equipment to the latest revisions.
Overall, the meeting was an effective means for us to see the
dynamics of the new organisation and how each and every team
member is performing in the best interests of the Group. I would
like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your efforts in
making LAP GreenN what it is today.
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AGENDA: SEMI-ANNUAL STRATEGY MEETING
Last November, LAP GreenN hosted its first Group-wide strategy meeting, where Group members
and top management across all operations gathered to set the direction for the future of the
In continuance of this initiative, our second semi-annual meeting was held in Dubai on May 7th
and 8th to provide an update on the Group strategy and the next steps. It was also an opportunity
for everyone to get together in one location and discuss all aspects of the business, from the
current situation to opportunities, potential drawbacks and market positioning.
The meeting was held with in attendance: LAP GreenN Group, the OpCos current and potential
partners, and many special guests.
The first day was dedicated to an operations review, with internal sessions between LAP GreenN,
the OpCos and our potential partners, namely Maraison and Power Oasis.
Day 2 kicked off with a strategy reminder and a presentation by Wafik Shater (Chairman and
Group CEO) and Dimitris Lioulias (COO) on the “next steps” for the Group.
Our strategic partners then followed, offering incites on ‘key telecom trends’ , mobile money and
the future of billing.
Sharon Ditchburn, the Company Secretary was invited to deliver a short presentation on
corporate governance and compliance, and Joanna Roche LAP GreenN CHRAO discussed new HR
policies. To conclude, the CEO of each OpCo took the floor to highlight their operational
In between sessions, there was a lot of opportunity to socialise and do team building. The closing
dinner was well attended, and the following special Guests were invited to speak: Faisel Gergab,
Chairman of LPTIC and board member of the LIA; Dr Aref Nayed H.E., Libyan Ambassador to the
UAE; and Ben Verwaayen, ex-CEO of BT, Alcatel-Lucent and KPN.
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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE OPCOS
MOHAMED GHADFI, CEO GEMTEL
Mohamed Ghadfi opened by giving an overview of the
company's history, prior to when LAP GreenN took over.
Gemtel was born during South Sudan’s struggle for
freedom, with its launch taking place in 2006. It was
previously known for its poor customer service which
severely hurt the company's performance. After 2 years of
monopoly, new competitors entered the market with very
aggressive launch strategies.
In 2010, Lap GreenN took over the company, and appointed
Mohamed Ghadfi as its CEO in May. Ghadfi found the
business in a critical situation, with nonexistent network
coverage, and only a single unstaffed small shop. Given the
situation, he initiated a revamping plan that focused on
network quality and coverage to reach all the ten states in
remote areas of South Sudan.
Ghadfi focused on growing the business, and despite
limited resources reversed the declining trend in the
business, by implementing a new marketing strategy and
launching new services. A new Executive Committee was
also brought on board: CTO in 2010, COO in 2011 and
acting CFAO in 2012.
Gemtel has seen itself grow into one of the most trusted
telecom service providers in Independent South Sudan,
with a highly skilled team, dedicated to providing
affordable, secure and reliable telecom services.
With the support of the new LAP GreenN management,
Gemtel was able to establish a mission statement to guide
future direction, operations and targets. It recorded
significant successes, in both financial and commercial
performance, and in South Sudan today, the newest
country in the world, Gemtel is the fastest growing and
most respected brand. This will have immense implications
for Gemtel’s future business.
DAVID HOLIDAY, CEO UTL
David Holiday who joined UTL as its CEO in May 2012
explained that 2012 was a difficult year in Uganda, with GDP
halved, 20% inflation and currency depreciation of 8%. Despite
this, David and his new management team have worked hard
to institute multiple changes spanning from governance, key
policies and protocols, cost reduction, and improvements to
customer service. Big strides have since been made, with
some of the team’s key achievements as follows:
- Increasing net additions significantly
- Changing the way UTL defines the customer base to comply
with international benchmarks
- Delivering 50% year-on-year improvement in EBITDA at the
end of 2012, in comparison to the plummeting results of the
previous three years
The business outlook for Uganda Telecom is more positive
now. Together with the support of the entire group, the new
management team aims to deliver results that are
underpinned with standards of financial, legal and regulatory
compliance, integrity and corporate governance standards
that all stakeholders can be proud of.
The company now has a restructured and efficient workforce
that has clear targets, and the motivation to meet the
challenges of 2013.
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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE OPCOS
JOHN WEIR, GREENN SL CEO
ALAIN MBIDA, COO GREENN CI
Alain Mbida, joined GreenN CI as COO in June 2012, and spoke on
behalf of Abdulghani Ramadan, CEO of GreenN CI.
Mbida opened his presentation with a brief background on the
company history. GreenN CI was born from the takeover of Oricel
by LAP GreenN in 2008. After a successful first year, which saw
tremendous subscriber growth, GreenN CI started to face
numerous challenges in late 2010. Furthermore, both the Ivorian
and Libyan crises in 2011 dramatically impacted the life of GreenN
Despite all the obstacles, the Group re-asserted its support to
GreenN CI, and brought in new blood to the management team,
while injecting financial support. In 2012, a new business plan was
agreed with the Group, and it yielded significant results at the end
of the year:
• The customer base doubled from what it was in late June to
• Revenue dramatically improved
• Network up-country has been re-opened in four cities, with a
plan to re-open six more areas
• Better company governance was implemented
In January 2013, John Weir, previously Project Director at UTL,
was tasked with assessing the feasibility of launching
operations in Sierra Leone, and developing a market entry
plan. Weir assessed the Sierra Leone opportunity, stating that
although there are four established players in the market, it is
apparent that quality of service and pricing transparency are
areas that GreenN SL can easily differentiate from its
competitors. Many consumers and businesses are dissatisfied
with the service being offered by the established players and
are looking for an alternative provider, something which plays
into LAP GreenN’s plan to create a ‘game-changing’ approach
to the market and give customers novel products and services
based on simplicity, quality and transparency.
He mentioned that a five year plan and launch strategy have
been developed and approved by the Group Exco, and all
resources on the ground are working diligently towards the
implementation of this plan.
Between January and April, Weir had been working with a very
limited resource pool, however, in May, a CFO and CTO were
successfully recruited and with this highly experienced team of
experts, the company is now in good shape to challenge the
status quo in the market heads-on.
Weir expressed his gratitude to the Group who have provided
guidance, direction and knowledge to the local team and will
also help to create a business that will become the benchmark
in the local industry. He stated with confidence that with the
support of the Group and colleagues in the other OpCos,
GreenN SL will be a success and give their competitors a run
for their money.
Mbida went on to say that in a market which is still growing,
GreenN CI management strongly believes that there is still a
window of opportunity for the company to turn around and reach
operational profitability within a period of 12 to 15 months.
However, this is dependent on appropriate Group financial support
He added that they are now working with all hands on deck to
ensure a timely launch into the market, which will provide
them with a clear run at during the Christmas season in Sierra
Leone. An early September launch is currently anticipated,
and the team is working closely with the network vendor to
accomplish this goal.
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Mbida closed by thanking the Group for its continuous support
and stated that overall, he was happy with the performance of the
operator to date. He feels that GreenN CI saw the virtual rebirth of
its brand in Ivory Coast and is confident about its future
Weir thanked everyone at the Group office and the OpCos for
their continued support in helping them operationalize the
business, saying that without this support both him and his
team would never have been able to meet this challenging
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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PARTNERS
Key telecom trends
JACOBO GARCIA-PALENCIA, PARTNER & DARREN TAN, HEAD OF INTELLIGENCE UNIT – DELTA PARTNERS
Delta Partners, a leading management Advisory firm specialized in Telecoms, Media, and Technology within the
Middle East, Africa and other emerging markets, delivered an insightful presentation on key telecom trends. LAP
GreenN makes a conscious effort to stay abreast of emerging trends in the telecom space, and has external advisors
provide frequent updates to the Group.
Jacobo Garcia-Palencia opened by discussing the latest trends in sector revolution. What was historically a separate
TMT space has now merged over the last one and a half to 2 years. Customers have converged the way they use the
services today. The model used to be that operators enabled communication between people - now operators are
enabling access to a wide variety of other services.
Garcia-Palencia also discussed the key challenges that operators are facing - how to position themselves in the rise of
the digital world, and how do to maintain profitability while enabling the growth of broadband and the consumption
of digital services. It is a radical change from the traditional model of telecom operators.
Darren Tan discussed another key trend in the market, specific to regulation. African regulators are learning from
European ones, which are generating a lot of cash from licence and spectrum auctions. He also took the opportunity
to highlight new products and services that are rapidly gaining traction globally. Wearable technology, and operating
systems (such as Firefox, Ubuntu, Tizen & Bada) – as opposed to devices – delivered the ‘wow’ factor at this year’s
Mobile World Congress (MWC).
Software-Defined Networking (SDN) has become the new buzz and will have to face-off with the traditional telecom
equipment vendors. Operators are being forced to devise more intelligent ways of deploying future networks and
optimising data transmissions.
M-health services are growing very quickly, and the global market size is forecast to grow to approximately US$23
billion by 2017. Nurses, who are currently using their own credits, are appealing to operators to help from a CSR effort
to capture the right data at the right time to deliver the health care required.
Also, the next paradigm of connected devices, connected vehicles, is significantly closer to being realised. A global
standard is already established for smartphone and in-vehicle connectivity called MirrorLink. GSME has said that by
2015 they expect at least half of the new cars that are rolled out from factories to be connected.
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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PARTNERS
TIMO AHOMAKI, TECNOTREE
Timo Ahomaki, CTO of Tecnotree, a global provider of
telecom IT solutions, explained that one of the main
challenges faced by communication service providers
(CSPs) in an ever more complex environment is how to
balance customer service costs with meeting the
increasingly high expectations of customers.
He stated that storage, video on demand, social media
and in-payments are extremely crowded markets and it
is difficult to carve a niche. As such, CSPs have to decide
whether to collaborate or compete with the other
ecosystems that exist in the market. He went on to say
that traffic in the network will always keep growing, and
so the key question that needs to be addressed is how
can this traffic be monetised?
Ahomaki noted that the app developers are the ones
making money, but they are also the ones engaging in
marketing, and so there could be an opportunity for
operators to collaborate locally with developers.
Ahomaki also highlighted that ‘comfort is king’ which is
the primary reason for the demand behind bundled
services. He ended by saying it is about loyalty and
VINCENT DOUIN (DIRECTOR)
& ANDRE MARQUES (CONSULTANT),
Greenwich Consulting, a global management consultancy firm
specialised in telecom, media, utilities and financial services,
presented on the hot topic of mobile money.
Vincent Douin,Director, and Andre Marques,Consultant,
discussed the key factors that need to be addressed when rolling
out Mobile Money in emerging markets, namely:
1.Building the right partnerships by clearly defining roles and
responsibilities of each player in the value chain
2.Building a successful commercial offer and roadmap with
speed, scale and sophistication
3.Ensuring usage monetisation and overall profitability
4.Selecting distributors by setting a selection criteria
5.Creating a high profile communication strategy with clear and
simple above and below the line campaigns
6.Defining the organisational model according to market
maturity and regulatory dependency level
7.Leveraging the regional alliance factor by defining a regional
perspective and deploying a unique technical platform linking
each operation, or deploying locally to avoid regulatory
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GOVERNANCE & HR
Sharon Ditchburn, Company Secretary
Sharon Ditchburn, who joined the Group as the Company
Secretary in January 2013, delivered a short presentation on the
legal best practices, specifically the importance of corporate
governance. She explained it is a method of governing the
company like a sovereign state, instating its own customs,
policies and laws to its employees from the highest to the
lowest levels. It is intended to increase the accountability of
your company and to avoid massive disasters before they occur.
Well-executed corporate governance should be similar to a
police department’s internal affairs unit, weeding out and
eliminating problems with extreme prejudice.
The presentation also included balancing commercial
considerations within the Group, and our duties and liabilities
in relation to the company. She also discussed Group values,
professional conduct, conflict of interest and protection of
Joanna Roche, Group CHRAO
Joanna Roche, LAP GreenN’s Group Chief Human Resources &
Admin officer (CHRAO) presented on the importance of having
a solid team and strong organizational culture in place in order
to drive an organization forward. Since joining LAP GreenN in
February 2013, she has been instrumental in forming LAP
GreenN’s new management team. She explained that it does
not matter how fantastic the strategy of an organisation is, the
execution and delivery of that strategy depends upon having
the right people and organisational culture. She added that
success would not be realised without this support. The
Human Resources department offers services to drive and
support the business strategy in order to deliver a high
performing organisational culture and work practices
throughout the employee’s lifecycle. This includes approaches
to recruitment, on boarding, performance and talent
management, training, compensation, benefits, and
organisational development and design. Joanna highlighted
that one of LAP GreenN’s current HR priorities is to ensure that
all employees have set objectives linked to the delivery of the
business strategy. Also, HR will be introducing a number of
policies to help guide its employees and build an
understanding of what is expected of them.
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H.E DR. AREF NAYED
LIBYAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UAE
EX-CEO OF KPN, BT AND ALCATEL-LUCENT
On behalf of the Libyan Embassy and
Consulate in the UAE, Ambassador Aref Ali
Nayed, welcomed all group members.
On behalf of the Libyan Government, H.E.
Prime Minister Ali Zidane, and the Libyan
Parliament, the Ambassador stated that the
Libyan leadership has not abandoned
previous investments made overseas. He also
went on to state that Africa is important to
Libya, and Libya is committed to its
investments in the continent as a proud
Mr. Verwaayen began by saying that the
Ambassador and the Chairman of LIPTC really
changed his mind on the subject of Libya,
talking of a country in transition. He reflected
that over the past 30 years, the telecoms
industry had seen almost everything, but never
the challenge that LAP GreenN has undertaken.
He said that if he were a betting man, he would
have bet against LAP GreenN, and so he salutes
the company for the beginning of this
turnaround, which is clearly heading in the
right trajectory considering assets inherited.
Finally, Ambassador Nayed explained that
Libya is no longer party to corruption, and
that anyone seeking to attract investment
will need to present a credible, sustainable
model and confirmed that the LIA will
provide its full support in this regard.
However, he explained that plans are futile
unless these three questions can be firmly
answered: (1) Who are you?, (2) What is your
value proposition?, and (3) Where are you
heading? With the combination of the
company’s heritage and talent pool – it all
comes down to people skills.
With regards to LAP GreenN employees, Dr.
Nayed described them as a part of one of the
most notable success stories in the
telecommunications sector. He also went on
to describe the company as an organisation
with tremendous potential and outstanding
leadership with the likes of Wafik Shater and
Dr. Faisel Gergab, who will ensure its progress
to new horizons.
He expressed his hope that the two days of the
meeting would provide a sense of pride as LAP
GreenN’s initial efforts are best in class. He
went on to say that the company’s vision and
determination would go a long way, as this is a
market where a real difference can be made.
DR FAISAL GERGAB
CHAIRMAN, LIPTC AND BOARD MEMBER, LIA
Dr. Faisal Gergab began his remarks by
conveying his assurances that the LIA and LIPTC
are fully behind LAP GreenN, and will support it
both financially and technically. He expects
LAP GreenN and its OpCos in Africa to have
robust business plans, total dedication,
motivated workforces and a sense of purpose.
He explained that the success of LAP GreenN
lies in the hands of its people, and that
the-massive potential: growth opportunities in
Africa are no secret, constituting a virgin market
that can be tapped into. He also added that a
review of LAP GreenN’s business plan left him
with nothing but optimism.
Dr. Faisal Gergab would like to see LAP GreenN
expand its operations in Africa, protect its
legacy, provide services to end-users and
distinguish the company as a quality service
provider with competitive rates. He pointed to
potential synergies between LAP GreenN and
the currently healthy Libyan telecoms industry,
and emphasised the importance of mutual
optimisation of strengths and support of
He addressed all stakeholders for full support,
and at the LIPTC level, talking to politicians, the
World Bank, the UN and African national
governments to ensure they give LAP GreenN
the space to flourish and compete.
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Ali Amir – UTL CFO
I think events like this are
extremely positive; it has been
hosted very well and has given
us an opportunity to speak with
the senior management team
and discuss the current
problems we are facing at an
Joanna Roche – LAP GreenN Group
This is the first time I have had the
opportunity to meet many of my colleagues
and partners and I feel I have a better
flavour of some of the challenges you are
facing. It is nice to put actual faces to
people that I have been communicating
with via email and or telephone and it has
helped me to get more of a sense of where
we are heading.
Dimitris Lioulias – LAP
GreenN Group COO
It is a very good opportunity to
gather everyone together.
Although such meetings are
not necessary on a continuous
basis, it is useful to have people
around a table every now and
then to exchange views and
make sure we are all on the
Abdalla Bouslein –LAP
GreenN Group Board Member
These initiatives and sessions,
where everyone is brought
together, are really useful.
Attending them on
semi-annual basis helps to
foster team spirit and bring
together fresh ideas and
passionate people together to
take LAP GreenN to the top 50
in a few years’ time.
Allan Kawele – LAP GreenN
Group IT Manager,
Operations & Governance
Halfway through the year, it is
always a good idea to bring
everyone’s focus back on
expectations: what is expected
from the Group and what is
expected from the OpCos, from
which plans can then be
Hend Abdulwahed, LAP GreenN Group
As a new addition to the team from the
Tripoli office , which is a very small team,
this has been a great opportunity to get
acquainted with everyone in person
whilst also receiving an excellent update
on the Group, its operational activities,
where we stand and where we are
headed. It has also been a great exercise
in fostering Group-wide team spirit.
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This event could not have been a success without Emelda Kimaita and Andrew Talbot, the organisers, as
well as Lucy Bagatsing who provided assistance during the event. Thank you for all your help and
The next event will be in November, we look forward to seeing you all again in another country,
with new challenges and successes.
Editorial Committee :
GreenN Shoots Special Edition is a semi-annual newsletter prepared by Hend Abdulwahed with the
collaboration of Michelle Hirst and Roxanne Franks from LAP GreenN. For any feedback or enquiries, please