Comesa promotes ICT infrastructure sharing
The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) has challenged member states and other regional bodies to harmonise Information Communication Technology (ICT) and work on infrastructure sharing to boost the sector.
Comesa said it believes ICT companies in the region can be accessing other firms’ infrastructure without labouring to plant their own machines which could reduce operational costs, thereby making ICT services accessible to many.
Director of Infrastructure at Comesa Secretariat Jean Bapsite Mutabazi made the call in Lilongwe Monday where ICT experts from 24 countries are meeting to consider and validate two ICT study reports.
He said the member states needed to harmonise policies and regulations to avoid working in isolation because infrastructure sharing remains key.
“It is not good to see people competing for infrastructure site. We have seen it in many countries where you could see operators, each one of them putting his own tower or a fibre while one tower can serve everybody, and one fibre can serve everybody,” he said.
Mutabazi said working in isolation costs a lot of money, and that the two reports being discussed try to address such issues by developing model guidelines for infrastructure sharing.
Secretary for E-Government in the Ministry of Information and Digitalisation, Francis Bisika, said there was a need for governance decisions in enhancing ICT and creating an enabling environment.
Bisika said without an enabling environment, ICT would not grow, and that there was a need for a regional way of governing ICT for it to flourish.
“If ICT doesn’t flourish in Malawi, or does not flourish in Zambia, eventually, it affects the whole Sadc as a region,” he said.
Representative of the Ministry of Information, Technology, Communication and Innovation from Mauritius, Ramesh Bheekoo, stressed the need to harmonise policies so that the public and private sectors work together in enhancing ICT services.
Regional ICT experts are meeting in Lilongwe to validate two reports on the Enhancement of Governance and Enabling Environment in the ICT sector which Comesa is implementing, funded by the European Union to the tune of €8 million.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.