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ACP-Europe ICT Roundtable on Broadband Policy and Regulation Engages High-Level Delegates from the Africa Caribbean and Pacific

by david.nunes



ACP-Europe ICT Roundtable on Broadband Policy and Regulation Engages High-Level Delegates from the Africa Caribbean and Pacific



London 23rd September 2011 – Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), in partnership with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Secretariat of the ACP Group of States is finalising preparations for the first ACP-Europe ICT Roundtable, which will take place at ACP House, Brussels, Belgium from 20 to 21 October 2011. The Roundtable will enable attendees to examine the key policy, regulatory and operational issues concerning the improved roll-out of Broadband in ACP countries and the delivery of its many socio-economic development benefits.  In addition, it will improve networking and knowledge-sharing between high-level policy and regulatory officials from the 79 ACP countries that will be represented, as well as participants from the European Union.  



Discussions at the Roundtable will be driven by speakers and presenters from ACP countries, high-level European Union officials, and many of those leading industry figures whose companies are driving the expansion of broadband services in Europe and beyond.



Key areas of discussion will include:


·        Optimum policy and regulatory frameworks for broadband roll-out


·        Spectrum rationalisation


·        Digital switchover


·        Financing schemes


·        Deployment of strategies to reduce negative externalities of ICTs


·        Technologies that will mainstream the benefits of ICTs.




In light of the growing use of applications, content and services, the Roundtable will also dedicate time to discussion of how broadband can be utilised across multiple platforms in order to deliver services, including e-governance, e-commerce, e-learning, e-agriculture, and e-health.


“There is an urgent need to catalyse policy and regulatory revisions to create the optimal environment for the growth of broadband in many ACP countries,” Kojo Boakye, CTO programme manager told representatives of ACP Embassies and Missions in Brussels at the 78th Meeting of the ACP Ambassadorial Sub-Committee on Sustainable Development.


“Not only will accelerated broadband uptake close the gaps in access between ACP countries and those in Europe, it will also present  ACP countries with the opportunity to bring about improvements in their socio-economic development indicators. The World Bank, for example, suggests that a 1% increase in broadband usage can result in a 1.38% increase in a country’s GDP.”


In 2000, ACP countries enjoyed levels of broadband usage similar to Europe (see chart). Policy and regulatory harmonisation led to an uptick in Europe’s consumption but ACP countries are now playing catch up. Indeed, Europe has been a pioneer in policy and regulatory harmonisation and it is reaping the benefits of expanded and improved Internet connectivity.




The EU’s broadband market is the largest in the world with 128,356,776 lines as of July 2010. Fixed broadband grew at a consistent rate from 4.9% in 2004 to 20.2% at the start of 2008, an average increase of 4% each year.






About the CTO


With a history dating back to 1901, the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) is an international development partnership between the Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth governments, businesses and civil society organisations. Through research and studies, advisory and consultancy services, capacity building and training and events on topical issues, the CTO helps to bridge the digital divide and achieve social and economic development, by delivering a range of unique knowledge-sharing programmes in the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).


From its headquarters in London and with members based in Europe, the Caribbean, Americas, Africa and Asia-Pacific regions, the CTO has been at the centre of continuous and extensive international communications development funding, co-operation and assistance programmes. The CTO’s mission is to promote wealth in developing countries through the more efficient utilization of ICTs, and its development agenda reflects the priorities set in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).


For more information, visit www.cto.int.


About the ACP


The ACP Secretariat is responsible for the administrative management of the Africa Caribbean Pacific Group of countries. The ACP Secretariat’s headquarters is located in Brussels (Belgium). Under the direction of the ACP Group’s policy-making organs (Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government, Council of Ministers, Committee of Ambassadors),  it is responsible for carrying out the tasks assigned to it by the Summit of ACP Heads of State and Government, Council of Ministers, Committee of Ambassadors and the ACP Parliamentary Assembly.  It contributes to the implementation of the decisions of these organs; monitors the implementation of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement; and assists the ACP organs and joint institutions created in the framework of the ACP-EU Partnership Agreements.


For more information, visit www.acp.int








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