Jan Mutai takes over top
By Judith Akoto
MINISTER for Information, Transport and Communications Musalia Mudayadi has called on African countries to find home grown solutions to Africa's telecommunications problems.The minister said unless Africa's telecommunications system was improved, better economic development on the continent would remain a mirage.Mudavadi was spealcing during an African Telecommunications -Union (ATU) handing over ceremony.

Mudavadi was speaking during an African Telecommunications Union (ATU) handing over ceremony. Kenya's Jan Mutai took over the secretary general's office from Minemba Mamadou Keita.Mudavadi said emerging private sector players were more profit driven than socially inclined in their business plans.

"Without positive in-puts from ATU, this kind of scenario may end up perpetuating the wide gap between the haves and have nots in the telecommunications sector," he said.Mutai was elected to head the 46 member union by African Ministers for communication who met in South Africa last December.He said policy reform and market restructuring in Africa offered high potential for growth in the telecommunications sector.The new secretary general said Africa needed US$ 60 billion to bring the continent to the global average teledensity of 1 0 per cent.

Mutai, who is a former Managing Director of the defunct Kenya Posts and Telecommunication, said despite having 12 percent of the global population, Africa has only two percent of the world's telephone lines.He said the convergence of digital technologies globally, had made it irrelevant for Africa to build separate telecommunication networks and has the potential to leap forward in the global inforrnation economy.

Mutai called for the widening of the membership base through admission of the private sector network operators into the union.He called for evolution of policy and regulatory frameworks to enhance investment flows into national and continental networks.

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