Liberia has signed the Accession Act to Free Roaming in the West African Sub-Region in line with the Abidjan Protocol. The Abidjan Protocol aims to make free telecommunications roaming a reality across all countries of West Africa.
According to a release from the Liberia Telecommunications Authority, Liberia becomes the ninth member of the Abidjan Protocol group and, by so doing, has paved the way for the remaining countries of ECOWAS to take the next step to bring down the telecommunications barriers in the region.
The free roaming /accession act agreement was signed on Friday, February 7, 2020 between the Liberia Telecommunication Authority, represented by its Chairperson Ivan Brown and Antigou Cherif, Director General of the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ARPT) of the Republic of Guinea in Conakry, Guinea.
According to an LTA spokesperson, Liberia’s accession to the Abidjan Protocol takes immediate effect when all other participating countries sign Liberia’s accession document.
Speaking minutes after the signing of the Accession Act, LTA Chairperson Ivan Brown said Liberia was happy and excited to be in Conakry, “Excited at the prospect of regional integration… excited at the prospect of free movement of its peoples… excited at the prospect of increasing cross border trade and commerce… excited at the prospect of bringing down the cost of communications for consumers throughout the Mano River Union region”, Mr. Brown remarked. The LTA Chairperson also stated Liberia was excited at making the promise of the Mano River Union and ECOWAS a reality.
He disclosed that, along with Free Roaming, Liberia is committed to making progress together with its neighbors in the Region on other telecommunications issues of great concern, including coordinating and resolving cross-border frequency interference and spill-over.
Mr. Brown assured Liberia’s commitment to the initiatives of Smart Africa, which intends to bring into being a One Africa Network in line with ECOWAS and African Union objectives.
“Once we can talk easily and affordably with one another across borders, we can trade and connect more easily with one another… and when we can do that, we can lift all our countries onto the path of sustainable growth and development”, the LTA Commissioner stated.
Mr. Brown praised the leadership of Director General Antigou Cherif of the Republic of Guinea, that brought together the telecommunications regulators of the Mano River Union to cooperate for the benefit of the peoples of their respective countries.
Mr. Brown revealed it is that same leadership, encouragement and support that carried them to Conakry to join Guinea, Cote D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Togo, Benin and Sierra Leone in breaking down the communications barriers among the various countries.
For his part, Director General Antigou Cherif of Guinea congratulated Liberia for her efforts devoted to the success of the joint project and thanked other member countries for the warm welcome and support they provided the LTA.
Director General Cherif reminded the countries that, as stipulated in point 8 of resolution No. 3 on the implementation of Free Roaming, comes into force upon signature by at least five (5) Authorities/Agencies of regulatory members of the Abidjan protocol.
He disclosed that to date it has already received the signature of six Authorities / Agencies pending those of the ARPT of Senegal and NATCOM of Sierra Leone and is calling on member countries to take all the necessary and urgent measures for the effective application of the resolution.
The LTA delegation to the Republic of Guinea also included Mr. Israel Akinsanya, Commissioner on Government and Consumer Affairs and Mr. Blidi Elliot, Director of Administration.
The free regional roaming regulation for ECOWAS Member States was originally endorsed on October 6, 2017, during the 15th Meeting of the ECOWAS Ministers in charge of Telecommunications and ICT, in Praia Cabo Verde.