ECOWAS MINISTERS VALIDATE ICT COMMON MARKET

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Neneh Macdouall-Gaye, Secretary of State for Communication Information and Technology, has returned from Abuja, Niegeria, where she joined the experts preparatory meeting to the sixth meeting of the Ecowas ministers of Telecommunications, and ICT for the establishment of the Common Market for ICT in West Africa.

Secretary of State Macdouall-Gaye was accompanied to the 14 Ecowas member-state attended meeting by Kumba Conateh, acting Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Department of State for Communication Information and Technology, and Pa Modou Gassama, Director of Planning and Development at Gamtel, from last week.

Convened by the Ecowas Executive Secretariat, in collaboration with the government of Niegria, and the International Telecommunications Union, the meeting validated the legislative and regulatory texts for the establisment of the Common Market for ICT in the sub-region.

According to reports, the sub-regional ministerial meeting adopted a string of draft decisions that were sourced from the guidelines relating to the legeslative and regulatory framework of the Telecommunications in the Ecowas-UEMOA in order to achieve a common liberalised ICT market.

Accordingly, the meeting considered the Lome declaration of Ecowas Meeting on Regional Policy on ICT in Togo held in Febuary, this year to define the framework of regional ICT policy.

At the meeting, reports from two private investment groups on the "intra-regional roaming project" were considered by the 11th ministerial gathering, while a group of investors, including those based in the UK, made presentations on the "internal connectivity project" for the West African countries.

Speaking at the meeting, SoS Macdouall-Gaye commended the Nigerian Government for hosting the meeting at a time, when the world is working towards the ICT revolution. She also thanked Nigeria for the training assistance being offered to Ecowas members and urged her collegues to remain responsive to it.

She acknowledged Africa's resolve to bridge the digital divide, and then exemplified the recent meeting of ministers of ICT in Dona, and the AU Cairo meeting as positive strides.

The Communication, Information and Technology Secretary Macdouall-Gaye urged her counterparts to utilised the opportunities technology provides, and then implored them to desist from relying on meetings of such nature to communicate.

Preceeded by the experts meeting of the Ecowas ministers, the sub-regional meeting was also attended by officials of the International Telecommunication Union, Regional African Satellite Communication, and the West African Telecommunications Regulatory Association.

The Daily Observer