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ECOWAS Member States Reaffirm Commitment to the Effective Implementation of the ECOWAS Regulation on Roaming
Abuja, 15th September 2020 . The Regulation on Roaming on Public Mobile Communications Networks in the ECOWAS Space was adopted by the Council of Ministers on 16th December 2017 with the aim to reduce the prices paid by ECOWAS citizens for the use of communication services whiles roaming within the community. Amongst the stakeholders tasked with obligations towards the implementation of the Regulation are the National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) of the Telecommunications/ICT sector in Member States.

In a bid to coordinate the activities of the NRAs towards fulfilment of their obligations in the Regulation, the Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications/ICT of Cote d’Ivoire (ARTCI), the regulator of the country designated by the Member States, to champion the implementation of the Regulation, in collaboration with the ECOWAS Commission organised a consultation meeting of NRAs of ECOWAS Member States on the implementation of the ECOWAS Regulation on Roaming.

The meeting, which held virtually on 15 September 2020 and was attended by Director-Generals and Presidents of the NRAs of thirteen (13) ECOWAS Member States, aimed at reviewing the progress made in the implementation of the Regulation by Member States and developing a strategy to pave the way for the speedy implementation.

In his address to the meeting, Dr. Zouli Bonkoungou, Commissioner for Telecommunication and Information Technologies at the ECOWAS Commission, recalled the responsibility of NRAs in performing regulatory and enforcement functions within the ICT sector, remarked that the implementation of the Regulation on Roaming was in line with this responsibility. He reminded the meeting of the expectations since 2018 of the statutory organs of ECOWAS with regards to the establishment of a harmonised and affordable roaming regime in the ECOWAS Space and called on the leadership of Director-Generals to drive the operationalisation of the Regulation for the benefit of the citizens.

In opening the meeting, Mr. Bile Diemeleou, Director-General of ARTCI noted the achievements within the region in the implementation of free roaming in some countries and called on his fellow Director-Generals to draw on this experience to ensure the effective implementation of the Regulation on Roaming for the benefit of all ECOWAS citizens.

At the end of the meeting, the Director-Generals adopted a resolution to conclude the effective implementation of the Regulation by 31st March 2021 in all the ECOWAS Member States, while allowing Member States who are ready to immediately commence implementation. An action plan detailing the activities to be carried out towards meeting this milestone will be validated within fourteen (14) days by the NRAs. The Director-Generals in the resolution also outlined steps to enhance coordination among the NRAs, and designated the ARTCI to coordinate the activities of the NRAs towards the implementation of the Regulation. The ARTCI will be supported in this role by the National Communications Authority (NCA) of Ghana.

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