* Ugandan regulatory CEO Patrick Masambu is up for the BDT job at the ITU. The only fly in the ointment is that his name has to go to an African Union selection committee for approval. The problem? The Algerians also want to put someone up for the job as well as putting a candidate forward for a radio-related job. If Masambu failed to get the job it would be a shame because on the basis of merit he must rank as a strong candidate for the post.
* The regulatory grouping for COMESA (ARICEA) is seeking to harmonise its satellite and wireless regulations based on a document drafted by Lishan Adam and funded by CATIA. A number of interesting discussion threads on it emerged at the Workshop on Policy Guidelines in Khartoum. The first was that regulators should move to cost-based licensing, meaning that the price of a licence should reflect the cost of administering it rather be simply another form of “tax” raising. Participants were in broad agreement but raised the issue of whether these fees should be pegged to the US dollar. Adam responded that it was useful to have fees in a common currency for the purposes of comparison. The document talked of creating a “one-stop-shop” for investors. This was originally envisaged as a single place (a web site) where investors might buy licences for several countries as was possible in Europe. However in the face of practical difficulties, this has now become a web site where investors can find all the necessary information. The CEO of the Mauritian regulator ICTA, Dr Krishna Oolun, raised the point that the document was focused on two particular technologies when everyone was now focused on “technology-neutral” approaches. Adam agreed that this was an interesting point and explained that originally the document had been envisaged as covering only satellite but that wireless had been added and that much had changed since the process started several years ago.
According to ECA’s Mohamed Timoulali, 83% of Africa’s 40 regulators are to be found in the 70% of countries that have some form of ICT policy, sometimes referred to by the acronym NICIs. He also noted that having a NICI sometimes accelerated the process of setting up a regulator.
* Nestor Misigaro has left the Burundi regulator ARCT and gone back to the army. He has been replaced by Hakizimana Constaque.
* Microsoft has appointed Cheick Diarra as its Africa chairman. Diarra is president of the African Summit on Science and Technologies, VP of the UN's World-science Ethics Committee, and a recipient of the African Lifetime Achievement Award. He will move into the newly-created position over the next four months, says a Microsoft statement