COMESA Reportedly Takes on Regional Roaming Tariffs

COMESA reportedly takes on regional roaming tariffs. In the Common Market of Southern and East Africa, professionals and stakeholders are debating the problem of exorbitant cellphone roaming costs (COMESA).

COMESA Reportedly Takes on Regional Roaming Tariffs

COMESA Reportedly Takes on Regional Roaming Tariffs

As part of the assessment of the Draft Policy and Regulatory Frameworks for Roaming and Interconnections, a three-day validation workshop got underway in Kigali, Rwanda, on Monday. The workshop was formally opened by COMESA director of Infrastructure Bernard Dzawanda, who bemoaned the unforgiving circumstances that prevent the sector’s growth in the areas.

“Most of us would agree that the high and uncompetitive tariffs for international mobile roaming and a weak regulatory regime for cross-border interconnections are two of the most persisting challenges in the regional ICT market,” he stated.

According to Rwanda’s Ministry of ICT Innovation’s director general for digital transformation, Gordon Kalema, high communication costs have an impact on economies.

“Having affordable communication across the region would have a positive effect on several other areas such as increased cross-border trade, free movements of people, reduced cost of doing business and ultimately enhanced regional integration.”

COMESA is Looking at Policy Harmonization and Regulation

The COMESA ministers promised to do away with roaming fees in 2017, yet they are still in place.

However, COMESA is looking at policy harmonization and regulation through the EU-funded Enhancement of Governance and Enabling Environment in the Information, Communication, and Technology sector program to make it easier to connect across borders, boost regional competition, and guarantee competitive tariffs.

Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Zambia have all announced plans to do away with roaming fees by 2023. Over 600 million people live in the 21 member states that make up COMESA, which has its headquarters in Zambia.



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