How can the Internet be made more widely accessible in Africa? As the arrival of undersea cables to African coasts shakes traditional business models, what is the right balance between government and private sector involvement?

To share fresh perspectives and propose new solutions, experts from all over the world gathered in Tunis on 12 November at the invitation of the OECD Development Centre and the African Development Bank. They discussed the Development Centre's draft document on Open Access policies, first aired at the African Union 3rd Ministerial Meeting on Information and Communication Technologies (Abuja, August 2010). An updated version of the document, to released in April 2011 will provide input for the AfDB and IsDB implementation programmes and will be shared with the AU Commission for consolidation.

Agreement on Open Access

At the 12 November 2010 experts’ meeting on "Open access policies: What is the right balance between government and private involvement?" participants agreed on some key principles on Open Access. Among institutions present were: the African Development Bank (AfDB), Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), African Union (AU), The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS), Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and Internet Society (ISOC) and the OECD evelopment Centre.

Participants agreed that Open Access requires both adequate regulation and healthy competition in the market. In particular, Open Access regulation and/or use of public funds should be used by government only when competition does not enable the expansion of access and usage of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT). Otherwise, there is a risk that Open Access regulation and/or public funds will hinder competition in infrastructure and foster one unique solution.

Consultation is key. When allocating public funds to broadband goverments must consult private sector and consumer associations -both before the project is launched as well as in the course of implementation.

The experts' meeting documented good practice by goverments and regulators in bringing about successful cost modelling for interconnection tariffs, as in the cases of Kenya through Long Run Incremental Cost (LRIC) models, and Namibia through benchmarking. Last but not least, participants stressed the key role of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in solving the problem of broadband regional interconnection in the areas between countries, often known as ‘no-man's-land’ zones.

Presentations

Opening remarks 

Moctar Yedaly (AU)
Jack Salieu (AfDB)
Ezekiel Odiogo (IsDB): Talking Points

Brief presentation of preliminary findings:    

Laura Recuero Virto (OECD/DEV): What is the right balance between government and private involvement?

When to apply Open Access?    

Chair: Jean Marie Noagbodji (Cafe Informatique, Togo) - Audio file - in French
Mike Jensen (Independent consultant, South Africa): Open access policies: What is the right balance between government and private involvement? - Audio file
Claude de Jacquelot (PIDA ICT Team leader): Régulation au politiques? - Audio File - in French
Augusto Maquengo (AfDB): When to apply Open Access in Africa? - Audio file
Jacob Ikilenya (EAC): Broadband Open Access Policies - Audio file
Question and answer session audio file

Which infrastructure is concerned?

Chair: Moctar Yedaly (AU) - Audio file
Dorothy Okello (CWRC/Makerere University, Uganda): Which infrastructure is concerned? - Audio file   
Karen Rose (ISOC) - Audio file
Nadine Berezak (BMP consulting): What is the right balance between government and private involvement? - Audio file
Khaled Ben Younes (Tunisiana): Infrastructure sharing: status and possible evolution - Audio file
Moctar Yedaly
: Summary - Audio file
Question and answer session audio file

Which pricing should be applied?

Chair: Benjamin Wolo (Liberia Telecommunications Corporation) - Audio File
Alison Gillwald (Research ICT Africa, South Africa): Open Access - Audio File
Alice Munyua (APC, Kenya): Discussion on cost model ADB and OECD meeting - Audio File
Jebabli Ikram (Instance Nationale des Télécommunications, Tunisie): Expérience tunisienne en matière de modélisation de coûts - Audio File       
Edmund Katiti (NEPAD): NEPAD ICT Broadband Infrastructure Programme
Question and answer session audio file

What can we learn from other regions?

Chair: Mohamed Ben Amor (CERT, Tunisia) - Audio file - in French              
Anne Rachel Inne (ICANN): Open access = Open minds - Audio file
Bronwyn Howell (New Zealand Institute, Competition and Regulation): Lessons from Australia and New Zealand - Audio file    
Roxana Barrantes (IEP/DIRSI, Peru): Open Access policies: What can we learn from Latin America? - Audio file
Ko Dae-Hwan
(KT, Korea): Introduction of KT and business strategies- Audio file
Question and answer session audio file

How to measure the impact of Open Access?   

Chair: Ezekiel Odiogo (IsDB) 
Alison Gillwald (Research ICT Africa, South Africa): What is the impact of Open Access?
Maurice Mubila (AfDB): ICT Infrastructure Data Collection. AFDB's Experience       
Haythem EL MIR (ANSI, Tunisia): ICT security in Africa

Concluding Remarks

Laura Recuero Virto (OECD): Concluding remarks - Audio file
Enock Yonazi
(AfDB)

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Agenda of the Experts Meeting

Access the Agenda of the meeting and check the issues at stake in each section



Laura Recuero Virto, Economist at the OECD Development Centre, explains why Open Access is an important issue for Africa's development.