By Etuka Sunday
African Telecommunications Regulators have converged on Abuja today to deliberate on how Regulatory activities of the 54-member nations of African Union (AU) can be integrated for seamless connectivity to boost customers’ satisfaction.
The 3-day Conference tagged “Conference of African Telecommunications Regulators on Consumer Affairs, CATCO 2019”, has a theme: Empowering the Telecom Consumer in an Era of Technological Evolution.
Hosted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), CATCO 2019 is a follow up to the one held in Lagos in 2013.
“This year’s event is geared towards pursuing a continuous collaboration between African telecommunications regulatory of individual countries and their regional bodies such as West Africa Telecommunication Regulatory Association (WATRA), East African Communications Organisation (EACO), and others.”
According to the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the Conference will provide the platform for Africans to establish unity, solidarity, collective self-reliance amongst African nations; “thereby building on the principle of pan-Africanism within the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) space; and sustaining a robust collaborative regulatory environment where current and future challenges are addressed,” Prof. Danbatta added.
The event is slated for Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja. Participants are expected to provide varying and fresh perspectives to burning issues affecting telecoms consumers and service delivery in Africa. Vital discussions will focus on the current state of telecom industry in Africa, ways to improve it and how to sustain a healthy telecom industry.
Other areas that will be looked into are; challenges confronting African telecoms regulators, international best practices, emerging technologies and their applications for the benefits of consumers, amongst others.
Stakeholders from various African countries, Legislators and Government officials, Consumer Advocacy Groups, African Telecommunication Regulators and Regional bodies such has West Africa Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (WATRA), Communications Regulators’ Association of Southern Africa (CRASA) and others are expected to be at this year’s event.
The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC hosted the first edition in 2013, in Lagos with the theme, “Harnessing Regulatory Policies to Protect Telecom Consumers in Africa”. It was a huge success, not less than 15 African countries participated in the conference.
This year’s conference will advance on the gains of CATCO 2013 because it has been specially designed and tailored towards improving Africa telecommunications Industry in the 21 century.