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In an exclusive interview, Harrison Lung, Group CSO, e&, provided valuable insights into e&'s sustainability strategy, the impact of their telco-to-techco transition, the strategic importance of the MENA region, and the core areas of focus for e& in the future.

Can you give an overview of e&'s sustainability strategy? What are the criteria for a successful sustainability strategy?

Sustainability is at the core of everything we do. It is one of the four pillars of our strategy, driving sustainability. Within this strategy, we have implemented key programs and initiatives across the ESG pillars.

In terms of the environment, we have several initiatives and programs aimed at reducing carbon emissions in our overall fleet and network. As for the social aspect, we have programs focused on gender diversity and empowering individuals with disabilities. Additionally, we are utilizing computer science and coding to educate our youth. We have implemented processes to effectively manage our operations in these areas.

As you can see, sustainability is integrated across our organization, and these key initiatives are embedded in our overall strategy.

e&'s telco-to-techco transition is a pioneering approach. After one year, what has been the biggest impact of e&’s rebranding on the company's performance?

e&'s rebranding journey last year was truly transformative. Not only did we successfully evolve our brand from Etisalat to e&, but we also underwent a reorganization into a group holding structure. This structure consists of four key operating units, ranging from our primary operating unit in the UAE to our international markets, which span across 15 countries. Additionally, we have e& enterprise, which focuses on providing B2B technology services, and our newest addition, e& life, which caters to the digital consumer segment.

With all these entities now in place, we have experienced tremendous market success. We have strategically leveraged our core telco business while simultaneously expanding into new digital ventures within adjacent markets and new geographies. This approach has allowed us to not only strengthen our existing business but also explore exciting opportunities for growth.

From your perspective, why is MENA a strategic location for growth and expansion?

The MENA region holds significant importance as a key pillar for growth and expansion for e& due to several compelling reasons. Firstly, its strategic geographical location places it at the crossroads between the east and the west, making it a central hub for global connectivity. Secondly, the UAE, within the MENA region, acts as a gateway to various markets where e& operates, including Africa, South Asia, and Europe. This provides valuable access to diverse consumer bases and business opportunities. Lastly, the region's socio-economic landscape showcases a growing number of digitally-connected consumers who are experiencing increased spending power and salary compensation. These factors create a favorable environment for e& to tap into the expanding digital market and cater to the needs of the emerging digital native population.

What are the core areas e& will focus on in 2024 and beyond?

In 2024, e& is placing a strong emphasis on execution. Over the past year and a half, we have developed an ambitious plan, outlined in our ‘4D strategy’ for 2030. While we have set our aspirations, our focus now lies in collaborating with each of our business units to secure the necessary capital for deployment and execution towards that plan. Our goal is to translate these aspirations into tangible and actionable items that align with our business operations. To ensure effective progress, we have established robust governance and implemented rigorous processes to track our advancements against these goals. With a clear focus on execution, e& is poised to drive meaningful and measurable results in the coming years.

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