Sierra Leone has begun deliberations towards the implementation of the Ecowas Mobile Roaming treaty, an official said on Monday.The treaty, first agreed upon in 2007 and approved in 2017, initially targeted 2018 as deadline for implementation by members of the 15-member economic bloc.
Sierra Leone roaming
Information Minister Mohamed Rahman Swaray said Sierra Leone is one of the member countries that are yet to domesticate the treaty, noting that the issue was one of key subjects under review at a recently concluded retreat by telecommunications stakeholders in the country.
“This is not an option. This is something that is in force right now, so we have to implement it,” Mr Swaray said in a radio interview. The ECOWAS free mobile phone roaming protocol received political
approval at a meeting of ICT ministers in the Cape Verdean capital, Praie in 2017. Officials said at the time the project was part of the bloc’s efforts to establish a single digital market within the region.
ECOWAS, a group of countries in West African with the goal of economic integration, is thought to have one of the highest mobile phone roaming fees in the world. Details of the conclusion of the Freetown stakeholders meeting is expected to be out later this week.
And according to Minister Swaray, the report entails the next move to be taken by the government, which would include wider consultations with the relevant players in the mobile sector.
There are currently 15 member countries in the Economic Community of West African States. The founding members of ECOWAS were: Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania (left 2002), Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Burkina Faso (which joined as Upper Volta). Cape Verde joined in 1977.