NetTel@Africa: African-led Network of Telecommunications Regulator Associations
[Issue I: Fall 02]
NetTel@Africa, a five year program funded through the USAID dot-GOV project, led by Internews Network, and managed by Washington State University's Center to Bridge the Digital Divide (CBDD), is establishing an African-led network for capacity building and knowledge exchange among telecommunication regulator associations. This network will improve sector policy formulation, harmonization, implementation, and help develop regulator training programs within African universities.
Independent Regulators Key to Telecommunications Reform
This project follows from the work of the Leland Initiative on the development of telecommunication regulators with African governments. These governments, located in the Southern, Eastern, and Western Africa regions, have determined that independent regulators are key to sustaining telecommunications reform in Africa. The regulator associations are committed to transparency in licensing and harmonization of regional telecommunications policy. For these regulators to help stimulate open competition in the telecommunications sector, there is a pressing need to know how legal regulation and rules actually function under similar conditions. Further, there are few places in Africa where the next generation of regulators can be trained.
Goals for the network include pro-competitive, market-oriented policy and regulatory environment for information, communication, and technology applications. The method of attaining these goals are through strengthened institutional capacity of regulatory and policy bodies, which can draw from African academic institutions for knowledge and analysis.
Internews, through dot-GOV, is providing a grant to Washington State University's Center to Bridge the Digital Divide (CBDD), which provides the analytical, technical, logistical, management, and administrative support for the program. CBDD will provide grants to its partners to achieve the NetTel@Africa goals. These partners include:
Regulator associations such as the Telecommunications Regulators Association of Southern Africa and its Human Resources Development Committee, co-chaired by TCC (Tanzania) and ICASA (South Africa) will also be involved. NetTel@Africa will also be working closely with the Federal Communications Commission, NARUC, and other international organizations concerned with telecommunications.
- African Universities (Botswana, Dar es Salaam, Fort Hare, South Africa, Western Cape, Witswatersrand and Zambia
- the African Advanced Level Telecommunications Institute (AFRALTI)
- U.S. Universities (Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Michigan State, Washington State)
- the U.S. Telecommunications Training Institute
In July 2002, individuals from the regional associations participated in a workshop arranged by the U.S. National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), held in Portland, OR.
Internews was awarded the NetTel@Africa on 1 June 2002 for three years. The total value of the project is about $3.5 million (Associate Cooperative Agreement No. GDG-A-00-02-00008-00 under the dot-GOV Leader Award No. GDG-A-00-02-00008-00.
For more information please contact:
Dr Maria Beebe, Project Director, NetTel@Africa