Saturday, November 08, 2008

Africa - telecommunications consumer group

African telecom consumer advocacy groups form alliance

Telecommunications consumer advocacy groups in Africa have formed an alliance to be known as the Africa Network of Consumer Associations of Information and Communication Technologies (ANCA-ICT), which will be based in Cotonou, Benin.

The creation of the new regional group resulted from of a three-day forum hosted by the League Pour la Defense du Consommateur au Benin (LDCB) in Cotonou last October, announced Deolu Ogunbanjo, president of the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers, over the weekend.

ANCA-ICT has set up a seven-person committee to pilot the affairs of the new group, whose mission is to further advance the betterment of telecom consumers on the continent, said Ogunbanjo, who represented Nigeria at the forum. The committee is comprised of two representatives from West Africa, and one each from North, Central, East and South Africa, plus an Afrikaans representative to ease language barriers.

ANCA-ICT will hold another meeting in Benin to consolidate its leadership structure and to ensure that each region is fairly represented, Ogunbanjo confirmed in a telephone interview. It is highly anticipated that LDCB leader Romain Houehou will emerge at the meeting as the first president of ANCA-ICT, he added.

The group has already arrived at three major resolutions, Ogunbanjo said, including that the subscriber volume on telecoms operators' networks should always be a factor for the downward review of tariffs.

"Tariffs or prices must come down with the increase in subscriber base," the group said.

In addition, ANCA-ICT advocated that any major, active subscribers' associations be included on the board of national telecoms regulatory bodies in all African countries.

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