AITEC convened, at the ACT Summit 2000, an African Regulators Forum as part of the follow up to the UN Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA) inaugural African Development Forum (ADF’99) and as part of the implementation the new African Telecommunications Union (ATU) constitution.
Regulators from twelve countries met in two sessions along with other ACT Summit participants from the private sector, government and civil society to consider the benefits of establishing a Community of African Regulators. The sessions were chaired by Jan Mutai, Secretary General of the African Telecommunications Union. ATU expressed its intention to collaborate closely with all relevant regional organizations to take advantage of synergies to build an African information society.
Participants were briefed by the representatives of the UN Economic Commission for Africa on discussions that had taken place within the region on policy and regulatory issues following ADF’99. The Secretary General of the ATU also briefed the group on the new mission and vision of ATU adopted by the Ministers of Communications in December 1999 in Capetown.
Discussions during the forum sessions indicated that there was significant interest in the establishment of a Community of African Regulators to share experience and best practice, to promote the development of accountable, transparent and inclusive systems of regulation and to address collectively major challenges limiting the capacity of the communications sector to contribute to the economic and social development of the region. The Community of African Regulators is part of the broader strategy to accelerate African development through the increased use of information and communication technologies that will be taken forward to the post ADF’99 Heads of State Summit expected to be convened in February 2001.
The ACT African Regulators Forum discussed in detail:
The most important issues to be addressed and resolved through regional collaboration including human capacity and training issues; and
mechanisms to support on-going collaboration and information exchange among African regulators.
There was a clear consensus on the need to establish the Community of African Regulators. The African Telecommunications Union will take the process forward to the ITU/ATU Forum on Telecommunication Regulation in Africa to be held in Botswana 25-27 October 2000. A small group of experts coordinated by the ATU and ECA will prepare a briefing note outlining the consensus reached at the ACT Summit for consideration by the larger group of regulators and policy makers who will be present at the Botswana meeting.