dot-GOV launches SADC ICT Policy and Regulatory Support Program (SIPRS)

Image of SIPRS Staff in Botswana On 21 November 2002, dot-GOV was awarded the Southern African Development Community (SADC) ICT Policy and Regulatory Support Program (SIPRS) Cooperative Agreement, funded by USAID/ Regional Center for Southern Africa (RCSA) for a period of 18 months. Based in Gaborone, Botswana, the project is lead by Mr. Brian Goulden, Director, and Mr. J. Riley Allen, Senior Technical Advisor.

The goal of SIPRS is advance policy harmonization by producing model policies in key areas, including:
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Consumer Protection and Standards
  • Numbering
  • Procedures for Dispute Resolution
  • Human Resource Development
  • Information Sharing
SIPRS will work very closely with the Telecommunications Regulators Association of Southern Africa (TRASA), a body of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). This activity continues the regional telecommunications policy harmonization work within the SADC and national level assistance achieved by earlier USAID/RSCA projects.

Building Liberalization and Competition
The end result of the SIPRS project will be greater liberalization of the ICT sector and fostering of a competitive market within the region. Bilateral technical assistance will address issues such as universal service obligations, rural access, consumer protection, interconnection, Internet pricing, and the development of regional internet exchange points (IXPs).

Building Policy through Coordination and Discussion
The following are examples of activities by SIPRS, supporting the goal of building and strengthening policy development.
  • SIPRS provides bi-lateral technical assistance to help SADC members adapt TRASA developed model legislation guides to member states own needs.
  • A workshop focused on numbering was held in Johannesburg, South Africa (November 2002) to reach concurrence on the TRASA draft model numbering policy.
  • The SIPRS project will help prepare a second workshop on Human Resource Development for TRASA Regulatory Affiliates, sponsored by the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO)/UK Department of Foreign International Development- Building Digital Opportunities (BDO) and USAID/RCSA.
  • The Workshop on Rural Access to ICTs was held in Windhoek in February 2003, sponsored by USAID/RCSA, SIPRS/dot-GOV, and the Leland Initiative, which directly resulted in the creation of an ICT coalition comprised of government officials, telecom, and Internet operators, and rural-focused and civil society NGOs. This coalition, which has support from the Namibian Prime Minister, has agreed to work together to guide implementation of the Telecommunications Act in Namibia.
Building Collaboration with Regional Players
Joint activities between TRASA and the newly formed ARICEA (Association of Regulators of Information and Communications for Eastern and Southern Africa, of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa-COMESA) are being explored through the SIPRS project, with representation from:
As a result of this meeting, donors and other regional projects agreed to help reduce duplication by providing resources for joint TRASA and ARICEA activities.

Four areas were identified as potential joint activities:
  • Key Performance Indicators and Statistics
  • Consumer Issues, Standards (including testing and type approval)
  • Post-pilot testing of the NetTel@Africa modules
Internews was awarded the SIPRS Project, funded by USAID/Regional Center for Southern Africa (RCSA), on 21 November 2002 for a period of 18 months (Associate Cooperative Agreement No. 690-A-00-03-00037-00 under the dot-GOV Leader Award No. GDG-A-00-01-00009-00).

For More Information, Contact:
Sarah Tisch, Ph.D.
Chief-of-Party, dot-GOV
Internews Network
Tel: 202 833-5740 x 203

Brian Goulden
Director, SIPRS Project
Internews Network

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