By Abdul Kuyateh
Under the auspices of the Minister of Information and Communications of Sierra Leone, Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo, the National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), will today play host to the 10th Annual General Meeting of the West Africa Telecommunications Regulatory Assembly at the Miatta Conference Centre in Freetown.
The two-day event will bring together independent National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) and departments for regulation of telecommunication services established by Governments of Member States in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region and Mauritania.
The keynote address will be delivered by the host Minister, while NATCOM would present Sierra Leone’s Telecommunications Regulatory environment.
WATRA was born out of the need to address present realities in the telecommunications industry in the sub-region while focusing on the need for West Africa to evolve a harmonized regulatory identity to boost investment and investor-confidence; and to more effectively enhance the regulations of telecommunications services by contributing to human resource and capacity building efforts aimed at redressing the shortage of indigenous skills, competencies and capabilities in emerging information and communications technologies in the sub-region.
The Assembly was established in November 2002, and consists of 15 National Regulatory Authorities.
Observers have described the event as “a step in the right direction,” as the Government gears towards mainstreaming the use of ICTs for socio-economic development.
WATRA’s partners are international development organizations, private telecoms operators, Governments, ICT equipment manufacturers, ICT equipment vendors and industry stakeholders.