African Union Calls For Cuts in Mobile Roaming Rates

Telecoms

The African Union has criticized the high cost of mobile roaming between African countries.

The African Union Commission's ICT Policy Officer, Auguste Yankey said that the high costs were affecting economic growth in the continent, and they are working with national regulators to cut those costs.

He said Africa has emerged as the new hub for the development of mobile technologies. "Countries such as Kenya has developed innovations that have made positive socio-economic improvements to the lives of ordinary citizens," he said.

Information Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i said that the need for cross border trade makes reduction of Africa's roaming cost imperative.

"In our view the best way to find the reasonable cost for the roaming is to conduct a continent wide study," he said. Matiang'i noted that Kenya's biggest trading partners are its east African neighbors. "So there is an urgent need to ensure that roaming within the trading bloc is not probative to consumers," he said.

The cabinet secretary urged African countries to explore the use of market incentives that will lead to a significant reduction in the price of international mobile roaming.