The Radisson Collection hotel has been hosting since yesterday, Tuesday March 28, 2023, the 20th general assembly of the West African Regulators Conference (ARTAO). The opening ceremony was chaired by Alkaïdy Amar TOURE, Secretary General of the Ministry of Communication, Digital Economy and Modernization of the Administration, in the presence of Aliyu Yusuf ABOKI, Executive Secretary of ARTAO, Sékou Amadou BARRY, president of ARTAO and Saidou Pona SANKARE, president of AMARTP.
Indeed, WATRA is a platform through which telecommunications regulators work together to expand access to information and communication technology (ICT) services in the sub-region. WATRA promotes the adoption of global best practices that drive investment in telecommunications infrastructure and services, deliver cheaper services to more citizens, and connect people, societies and economies in Africa West and beyond.
Setting the scene, the president of AMARTP, recalled that ARTAO was created here in Bamako in November 2002. He said he was happy to welcome the august assembled 20 years later in Mali with the founding members.
He further indicated that ARTAO also identifies the most innovative telecommunications regulations, policies and practices in West Africa and facilitates learning and adoption by member countries.
“Our main task is to work with members to reduce barriers of availability, affordability, promote culture, literacy and enable more and more people in West Africa to become more productive and improve their access to local, national and international economies through the use of ICTs,” he said.
According to him, the reforms undertaken and constantly maintained by our respective governments within the framework of the opening of the sector, the regulation of which is entrusted to the Member States of WATRA.
“Thanks to these reforms, and this was the goal assigned to them, access to telecommunications services has been widely democratized and will be the sector that effectively supports our national economies our organization WATRA has been the space , still perfectible, of exchange between us to optimize the management of the reforms and therefore of the sector”, he hammered.
As for the president of WATRA, Sékou Amadou BARRY, he affirmed that their association aims to improve the lives of all West Africans, whatever their vocation or their socio-economic status thanks to a more relative regulation. and more efficient telecommunications network.
The representative of the Minister of Communication, the Digital Economy and the modernization of the administration, recalled the efforts of Member States in the harmonization of the political and regulatory framework for telecommunications in West Africa.
According to him, the Telecommunications Sector is undoubtedly the one that has more interactions with other sectors such as commerce, banking, games and security and so on. It is the sector with the largest number of service users, he added. This is why, he insists, it deserves the utmost attention from the various stakeholders.
“From the statements of sectoral policies in the late 1990s to the present day, with the emergence of DATA, telecommunications networks continue to surprise and amaze us with their increasingly growing contribution to the economic and social development of our countries. They offer more services and possibilities to users who are increasingly demanding in terms of quality of service,” he said.
He thus suggested that the Ministerial Departments and those responsible for the Sector’s policy should anticipate the digital transformation of society and the quality of the services offered to the populations.
“But this cannot be done without the collaboration of the Regulators that you are. Hence our expectation to receive from you, the Regulators, proposals, advice and guidance to the sector well thought out around the challenges and opportunities related to digital development, projects and programs relating to development telecommunications by setting the strategies and the development objectives of Telecommunications and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)”.
He was also pleased to note that for several years the African populations have shown a considerably increased interest in the use of telecommunications services.
“The Telecommunications market, which is being built every day, must find a place of choice and sustained coherence in the objectives of the public policies of our respective States”, he concluded.
BY CHRISTELLE KONE