In a landmark agreement aimed at creating a harmonized information and communication technology (ICT) market, regulators from 15 West African nations have agreed to a common regulatory framework for their national ICT markets. The agreement marks a significant step forward for the region, which is seeking to create a single market based on the European Union model.

Regulators hammered out the new framework during a validation workshop when more than 100 participants took part, including representatives from the regulatory authorities of Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, the Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo as well as regional organizations including CATIA, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the European Commission, the FCC, the West African Monetary Union (UEMOA), USAID and members of the private sector.

By favouring a market-based approach to the provision of ICT services, the new guidelines are designed to spur investment and development in the West African ICT sector. Once widely adopted, it is hoped that they will prove instrumental in helping propel some of the world’s poorest nations into the Information Society.