25th Meeting of the East African Communications Organization (EACO) Assemblies

This was held in Nairobi, Kenya on 11-15 June, 2018. The aim of the meeting was to provide a platform for sharing experiences on emerging technologies in the East Africa region and to also discuss the impact of those experiences on ICT policies.

EACO comprises of key ICT players in the region. Other than Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda, the body is represented by telecom operators, broadcasters and postal service operators, among other stakeholders from the mentioned countries.

The forum targets to discuss the state of network development and regional inter connectivity, harmonization of tariff structures and settlement of accounts, policy advice on issues on the communications sector and quality of service, among other ICT-based concerns.

The meeting was opened by the Cabinet Secretary of ICT, Hon. Joe Mucheru who shed some light on the misuse of ICT services. “To help law enforcement agencies within the region to track down these criminals, mobile network operators must strictly adhere to the SIM card registration requirements. If some countries or mobile operators do not enforce SIM card registration to the letter, criminal elements shall continue misusing unregistered SIM cards from neighboring countries to perpetrate criminal activities across our borders,” said the CS.

Speaking during the opening ceremony, EACO’s chairman and Director General of the CA, Mr. Francis Wangusi highlighted the leaps that the region has made. As of 2017, for example, service providers have laid over 21400 km of optic fiber through government funding.

The GSMA was represented by Angela Wamola, Strategic Engagement Director – Africa, Government and Regulatory Affairs who made a presentation on ‘Shaping the industries priorities‘ and Jean Francois le Bihan,Public Policy Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, Government and Regulatory Affairs who spoke on ‘Dialogue on emerging technologies and spectrum needs.’

During the forum, it was agreed that there was need for EACO to harmonize  ICT policy and regulatory frameworks to enable socio-economic development and to also develop a reliable  and accessible database of ICT statistics in the East Africa region for purposes of decision making.