ITU TELECOM AFRICA 2001 – Development Symposium
ITU TELECOM AFRICA 2001 and BDT presented a special symposium to address the
key telecommunication issues in the developing countries in Africa. The
following issues were the subject of much debate and interaction amongst those
- Building Effective Regulators
- Development of the Internet in Africa: Who should pay?
- Capacity Development in the African Region
In addition, fellowships were provided to two representatives from each of
approximately 30 countries in order to facilitate their participation in the
symposium. The symposium resulted in a set of recommendations for the
participating countries and ITU on how best to address the issues presented.
These included: Regulations, Internet infrastructure and costs and Capacity
Africa — The state of Connectivity
African Telecommunication Indicators 2001, the sixth
indicator publication on the African Region, was specially prepared for ITU TELECOM
AFRICA 2001. The report provides a penetrating review of developments
in the African information and communication technology sector, while the
indicators include the latest data on ICT development on a regional and
country basis. At this critical time of ICT growth in Africa, the analysis of
growth trends, regulatory approaches and key data plays a useful part in
identifying current and future needs, with the overall objective of finding a
way to bridge the Digital Divide. itu.int/ITU–D/ict/publications/africa/2001
- Although not an essential condition for the development of network and
services, in the African context, a regulatory structure contributes to a legal
environment for attracting investments, in particular from the private sector.
- Autonomy of technical, administrative and financial management can be given
to regulatory bodies even if they are not completely independent from the
government. Regulatory bodies should be able to finance themselves through
licence fees and taxes.
- Regulations should be created to motivate staff, and a policy of continuous
education must be developed in all the activity fields of the regulatory body.
- Regulatory bodies should have, among their functions, development of
networks and services and protection of the interests of users on the issue of
accessible prices and quality of service.
- It is important to have subregional and regional regulatory associations
similar to the Telecommunication Regulators’ Association of Southern Africa
(TRASA) and the West Africa Telecommunication Regulators’ Association (WATRA).
Internet Infrastructure and Costs:
- Africa must establish its own priorities, representing a challenge both for
governments and the private sector.
- Interested parties must become involved in the development of competencies
and sufficient funds must be freed up for this purpose.
- Governments should give priority to education at all levels, and
universities and teaching establishments should work in close collaboration with
the public and private sectors to ensure that education and the proposed
curricula correspond to the needs of the people. n Optimal practices and systems
of reference should be implemented to guarantee the quality and efficacy of
- ITU’s Centre of Excellence initiative can significantly boost training in