Experts in charge of radio frequency management and administration in ECOWAS Member States gathered in Niamey, Niger, from 4th to 7th July 2023 to consider and adopt ECOWAS Common Positions) ECOCOPs on the agenda items of the 2023 edition of the World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC).
The meeting, which was the fourth (4th) Preparatory Meeting of the ECOWAS Region for WRC-23, was hosted by the Ministry of Posts and New Information Technologies of the Republic of Niger and was attended by experts from Member States’ Ministries in charge of Telecommunications/ICT/Digitalisation, National Telecommunications Regulatory Authorities (NRAs), Specialised Agencies in charge of Radio Frequency Management, Media Broadcasting, Civil Aviation and Defense Institutions.
During the opening session, Mr. Salissou Mamane, Director General of the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Posts of the Niger (ARCEP) welcomed participants to the Niamey and to the meeting. He remarked that the continued growth and innovation in the ICT sector necessitates the optimisation of existing frequency assignments and the allocation of new frequencies to satisfy the needs of all services across broadcasting, telecommunications, national defense, public security and emergency communications, aeronautical and maritime services, transport, meteorology and science.
He informed the meeting of the commitment of the Authorities of Niger at the highest level to the establishment of ICTs as a catalyst for the development of other socio-economic sectors of the economy. He reminded the meeting of the need to speak as one voice during the next preparatory meeting of the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) and urged participants do all possible to achieve consensus on the WRC agenda items.
In his addressed to the meeting, Mr. Mawuli Amoa, Program Officer for Telecommunications and Networks, on behalf of the ECOWAS Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and Digitalisation, Mr. Sédiko Douka, conveyed the gratitude of the ECOWAS Commission to the Republic of Niger for hosting the meeting. He recalled the objectives of ECOWAS in Telecommunications/ICT as provided in the ECOWAS Treaty and relevant Supplementary Acts on Radiofrequency Management and stated that the Commission’s coordination of Member States’ preparations towards the WRCs, as well as other activities in the radiocommunications sector is within the framework of the aforementioned legal texts. He highlighted the importance of ICT in development and the need to promote universal access to ICTs within the region, as well as the importance of spectrum administration in meeting these goals. He appealed to the meeting to keep in mind the developmental needs of the region when formulating the ECOWAS Common Positions for WRC-23.
Mr. Sidi Mohamed Raliou, Secretary General of the Ministry of Posts and New Information Technologies of Niger, on behalf of the Honorable Minister, Mr. Hassane Baraze Moussa, stated his appreciation for the opportunity to host the meeting. He reminded the meeting of the objectives of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in the radiocommunications sector and its established procedures for the efficient management of the radiofrequency resources. He encouraged the experts to familiarise themselves with the outcomes of previous Conference Preparatory Meetings organised by the ITU in preparation for WRC-23 and to take them into account for the preparation of common defensible positions for the region. He concluded his remarks by declaring the meeting open.
By the end of the meeting, ECOWAS Common Positions were adopted for each of the WRC-23 agenda items after consideration of one hundred and twenty-nine (129) proposals submitted by Member States and ICT industry practitioners such as the Access Partnership, EBU/BNE, GSA, GSM Association, GSOA, Huawei, Inmarsat, Intel, Intelsat, Meta, OneWeb, Policy Impact Partners, Qualcomm, RASCOM, SES, Space X, TMG and WeSayWeDo. The ECOWAS Common Positions will be submitted to the working group meetings of the ATU which will be used as inputs in the preparation of recommendations for African Common Positions on the WRC-23 agenda items.
About World Radiocommunications Conferences
World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC) are organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) every three to four years to review, and, if necessary, revise the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum and the geostationary and non-geostationary-satellite orbits.
Preparatory meetings are organised by ECOWAS with a view towards the formulation of the ECOWAS Common Positions (ECOCOP) on WRC agenda items, which reflect the interests of the region. The agreed ECOCOPs are considered in the preparation of the African common positions to be presented at the WRC.