ECOWAS adopts draft regulation on submarine cable landing stations

The 11th meeting of ECOWAS Telecommunications and Information and Communication Technologies Ministers (Telecoms-ICT) ended with an adoption of a draft regulation on conditions for access to submarine cable landing stations in West Africa.

The meeting which was held in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire, ended October 14, 2011 with Ministers coming from the 15 Community Member States. It also informed Ministers of the progress made in regional broadband connectivity programmes and in the harmonization of the Telecommunications and ICT regulatory framework in the Community at large.

During the meeting, ECOWAS in a statement said “The ministers also considered and adopted the draft regulation on conditions for access to submarine cable landing stations in West Africa. The text, comprising 16 articles, provides ECOWAS States with the necessary tools for addressing issues of confidence relating to landing stations and submarine cable access.”

In that regard, the countries of the hinterland raised the issue of rights of way between Member States, the resolution of which would be necessary to facilitate access to submarine cable landing stations, among other things, it added.

The meeting, the statement said therefore recommended a study to develop a harmonized regulation on the rights of way by learning from existing best practices, particularly that of Rwanda.

“This activity will be included in the strategy for the implementation of priority Telecoms-ICT projects in the ECOWAS region for the next five years. As a matter of fact, the Ministers adopted a strategy paper in that regard, outlining the priority projects to be implemented in the coming years,” ECOWAS stressed.

The statement disclosed that the Ministers recommended the creation of a Directorate of Telecoms-ICT and Post sectors by the third quarter of 2012 in order to build ECOWAS’ operational capacity and enhance the planning and monitoring of the activities of these sectors at the Community level.

The meeting also saw representatives from the African Union, the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the Pan African Postal Union (PAPU), the West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the National Union of Telecommunications Companies of Cote d’Ivoire (UNETEL), the West African Telecommunications Conference (WATC), the African Registry Consortium (ARC), the Information and Communication Technologies Sector Operators Group (GOTIC), and the Initiative for Internet Governance in Cote d’Ivoire (IGICI).

By Ekow Quandzie

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