In a landmark agreement aimed at creating a harmonized information and communication technology (ICT) market, regulators from fifteen West African nations have agreed to a common regulatory framework for their national ICT markets.

The agreement marks a significant step forward for West Africa, which is seeking to create a single market based on the European Union model. Regulators hammered out the new framework during a three-day validation workshop in September, 2005 chaired by Major John Tandoh, Acting Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the National Communications Authority (NCA) of Ghana.

More than 100 participants took part in the event, including representatives from the regulatory authorities of Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, the Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo as well as regional organizations including CATIA, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the European Commission, the FCC, the West African Monetary Union (UEMOA), USAID and members of the private sector.

The new harmonized regional framework, which covers interconnection, licensing, numbering, spectrum management, universal access and ICT policy and legislation, was formally approved by the 3rd Ordinary General Meeting (OGM) of the West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA), which was chaired by Daniel Seck, WATRA chairman and Director General of Senegal’s Agence de Régulation des Télécommunications (ART). "I am delighted that WATRA has played such an important role in bringing the region together to achieve its goal of creating a harmonized ICT market," said Seck, after the meeting.