Liberia: Stakeholders review draft legal, regulatory framework to govern digital economy in West Africa

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Stakeholders in the digital economy ecosystem
Stakeholders in the digital economy ecosystem

Stakeholders in the digital economy ecosystem in the Republic of Liberia gathered in Monrovia, Liberia from 8th to 10th November 2022 for a national consultation on the draft new legal and regulatory framework to govern the digital economy in West Africa.

The meeting, which was convened by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of Liberia with the support of the ECOWAS Commission, was attended by officials from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, the Liberia Telecommunications Authority, the Law Reform Commission of Liberia, the Liberia Chamber of Commerce, West African ICT Action Network, Liberia Telecommunications Corporation, LonestarCell/MTN, Internet Society Liberia Chapter, Central Bank of Liberia as well as representatives of other Ministries and Agencies of the Government.

In delivering the statement of the ECOWAS Commission, the Resident Representative of the ECOWAS Commission in Liberia, Her Excellency Josephine Nkrumah highlighted how the digital economy sector is characterized by a fast pace of innovation and continuous enhancement of the status quo.

She stated that due to the importance of these innovations and services to the economy, it is imperative that policymakers and regulators develop an approach to regulation which fosters the growth and development of these services under a fair and enabling environment while at the same time protecting the interests of consumers. It is for this reason, she said, that the ECOWAS Commission is undertaking the project for the elaboration of a new harmonised legal and regulatory framework to govern the development of digital economy sector in West Africa, which will address the emerging issues in the sector.

In his address to the meeting, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications of Liberia, Hon. Cooper W. Krauh, Sr. highlighted the mandate of the Ministry in setting the policy direction for the ICT sector and mentioned that a number of legal instruments, namely the Cyber Crime Act, the Data Protection Act and the Financial Transaction Act are in development in line with the regional legal and regulatory regime.

He expressed appreciation to the ECOWAS Commission for its continued support to the Ministry in strengthening the cybersecurity capabilities and in supporting the Ministry in organising the national consultation exercise through which stakeholders in the digital economy ecosystem would be familiarised with the regional text and begin to have ownership of the implementation process after its adoption.

Over the three (3) days, participants examined the draft Regulation and provided comments and feedback to be taken into consideration in its finalisation. The feedback from the national consultation exercises in Member States will be consolidated and incorporated in an updated draft which will be presented to the ECOWAS Ministers in charge of Telecommunications/ICT/Digitalisation for their approval, prior to submission to the relevant statutory organ of ECOWAS for its final adoption.

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