To Enhance Economic Activities in the West Africa Region: LTA Boss Appeals for Cross-Border SIM Cards

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As part of efforts to boost and enhance economic activities within the West African Telecommunications sector, the chairperson of the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA), Madam Angelique Weeks, has strongly appealed to ECOWAS bodies to work together and come up with a policy that will allow GSM SIM cards to be used across the region.

Commissioner Weeks, who will take the helm today as chair of the West Africa Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, made the statement yesterday at the close of a two-day Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers or ICANN Regulators Conference, held in Monrovia.

Brainstorming and strategizing on how telecommunications operations can be harmonized among ECOWAS countries, she said, “If that is done by telecom operators it will be a plus to them by sharing of information across borders, including Value Added Services (VAS).”

She told the participants that when SIM cards are harmonized among ECOWAS states, citizens of the sub-region would not have to change their SIM cards whenever they travel to member states for any business-related activities.

Commissioner Weeks argued that citizens of ECOWAS countries are presently using a single traveling document, the ECOWAS passport, noting that it harmonizes the work of the sub-region and gives easy passage to citizens.

She said though Africa seems to have some great challenges in the sector, “we are now overcoming them by developing a policy that will be beneficial to member states, particularly across ECOWAS borders amid other Value Added Services (VAS) with the deployment of the right ICT tools.

“This, no doubt, needed to be encouraged by African governments to promote the sector that will be visible in developing the economy like what is being done in some West African countries today.”

Speaking via satellite, the head of ICANN Africa Strategy, Mr. Pierre Dandjinou, challenged the participants meeting here in Monrovia to strategize and come up with further regulations that would harmonize the workings of ICANN member countries.

Mr. Danjinou said the conference is very significant to the growth of the telecommunications business in the ECOWAS region.

He likened telecommunications is equal to a very big pipe that could be channeled in various aspects of the economy to improve upon one level of development to the next level.
The two-day session, the participants discussed: the overview, structure and outcomes, understanding the ICANN ecosystem, policy development process at ICANN first in Africa, Internet Critical Resources, K and K Roll Over, and the ICANN Africa Strategy.

The conference also touched on other topics, including Top Level Domain (TLD) management by regulatory bodies, presentation of experiences, ICANN online learning platform, and IPv4 to IPv6 Transition.

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