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Harmonising telecommunications

The Support for the Harmonisation of the ICT Policies in Sub-Saharan Africa project (HIPSSA) promotes the use of harmonised ICT policies and regulatory frameworks. It also provides human and institutional capacity building in this vital sector.

Launched in December 2008, the project is jointly funded by the European Commission and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

The project is taking place in 43 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. It aims to create the policy, legal and regulatory frameworks conducive to investments in ICT infrastructure in this region, using a co-ordinated approach that responds to the needs of countries in a comprehensive and cost effective manner.

HIPSSA’s specific aims are to:

• Develop and promote ICT market policies and guidelines for individual countries;
• Support regional organisations and sub-regional economic groupings to develop and promote the use of harmonised policies and regulations;
• Build human and institutional capacity in the ICT sector, through training, education and knowledge sharing.

Work and results

The project released its first study at the end of 2009: “ICT Regulatory Harmonisation: A comparative Study of Regional Initiatives”.

Other work underway includes:

• A review and update of Southern African Development Community (SADC) policy and legal regional framework;
• Transposition of Community Acts in Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)/ Treaty on the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU);
• Training workshops for the establishment of Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs);
• The development of Model Laws in Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and transposition of Directives of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC).

Future priorities of the project are:

• Cross-border frequency co-ordination;
• Universal service and access;
• Cybersecurity;
• Interconnection: cost models, roaming and access;
• Submarine cables;
• Analog to Digital Broadcasting Migration;
• Collection of statistics.

HIPSSA follows on from earlier efforts in this field, including the ITU’s Green paper for Telecommunication policies for Africa, (1996) and the African Union's Reference Framework for Harmonisation of Telecommunication and ICT Policies and Regulation in Africa (2008).