Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are shaping the process of globalisation. Recognising their potential to accelerate Africa’s economic integration and thereby its greater prosperity and social transformation, Ministers responsible for Communication and Information Technologies meeting under the auspices of the African Union (AU) adopted in May 2008 a reference framework for the harmonization of telecommunications/ICT policies and regulations, an initiative that had become especially necessary with the increasingly widespread adoption of policies to liberalise this sector.
Coordination across the region is essential if the policies, legislation, and practices resulting from each country’s liberalization are not to be so various as to constitute an impediment to the development of competitive regional markets.
Our project to ‘Support for Harmonization of the ICT Policies in Sub-Sahara Africa’ (HIPSSA) has sought to address this potential impediment by bringing together and accompanying all Sub-Saharan countries in the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP) as they formulate and adopt harmonized ICT policies, legislation, and regulatory frameworks. Executed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), co-chaired by the AU, the project has been undertaken in close cooperation with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and regional associations of regulators which are members of the HIPSSA Steering Committee. A global steering committee composed of the representatives of the ACP Secretariat and the Development and Cooperation – EurepeAid (DEVCO, European Commission) oversees the overall implementation of the project.
This project is taking place within the framework of the ACP Information and Telecommunication Technologies (@CP-ICT) programme and is funded under the 9th European Development Fund (EDF), which is the main instrument for providing European aid for development cooperation in the ACP States, and co-financed by the ITU. The @CP-ICT aims to support ACP governments and institutions in the harmonization of their ICT policies in the sector by providing high-quality, globally-benchmarked but locally-relevant policy advice, training and related capacity building.