Lilongwe hosts Communication Regulators from COMESA region

Delegates pose for a photo.

The 12th Annual General Meeting for the Association of Regulators of Information and Communication for Eastern and Southern Africa (ARICEA) recently took place in the capital Lilongwe.

Director of Information, Gedion Munthali, told delegates during the meeting’s official opening that they should work towards making the cost of ICT services affordable to citizens across the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA).

“It is my hope that this meeting will come up with workable solutions that will help the region move faster in developing communication infrastructure, regulations and policies to facilitate sustainable growth as well as accelerating regional integration,” he said.

Mr. Munthali expressed optimism for mobile penetration growth in Africa, which standing at 69.3 percent is the world’s lowest.

“We need to explore and debate areas that are crucial to promoting growth at a faster rate and also to develop models that are suitably tailored for the region,” he said.

He cited Malawi’s recent introduction of the new Communications Act 2016 and the E-Transactions and Cyber Security 2016 as the starting point towards the attainment of universal access to ICTs and achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

MACRA Deputy Director General, Francis Bisika, praised ARICEA for demonstrating what he called the drive to harmonize regulatory frameworks through the development of policy guidelines and regulations on interconnection, licensing, competition, pricing, consumer protection, cybersecurity and key public infrastructure.

“Many countries have had tremendous gains in the field of ICT by consultancy support, capacity building events, and networking opportunities through collaboration among ARICEA member states and regional and international organizations,” he said.

The meeting, chaired by MACRA, discussed reports on hosting of ARICEA Secretariat and Regional Cyber Security Centre, Mobile roaming, ICT services competition maturity, Infrastructure sharing, Mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) and Cyber Security.

Guest of Honour Director of Information Gideon Munthali (first from left) with the session’s chair MACRA Deputy Director General, Francis Bisika