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DRC, Rwanda commit to telecoms-focused MoU

DRC, Rwanda commit to telecoms-focused MoU

The Democratic Republic of Congo's telecommunication regulator Autorité de Régulation de la Poste et des Télécommunication du Congo (ARPTC) and its counterpart in neighbouring Rwanda, the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate on cross-border telecom-related matters.

Patrick Nyirishema, Director General of RURA, says the framework established in the MoU will lead to a sharing of infrastructure. "In the field of telecommunication, we have infrastructure on both sides which are effective for the people of our two countries. A tower on one side can overshoot and transmit across the border."

Nyireshema adds that the two have identified that improper frequency coordination, power levers and other technical issues can be the origin of interference and automatic roaming without being detected for both citizen of Rwanda and DRC.

"This formalised framework harmonises policies and regulations to resolve such technicalities in real time without prolonged procedures that used to affect both sides,"

Kasindi Maotela Odon, Vice President of ARPTC added, "This MoU translates the spirit of fraternity for the benefits of our citizenry."

Similar issues between regulators in the East African Communication Organizations (EACO) are coordinated through the East African Community (EAC) which is a regional organization of national ICT regulators from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Rwanda.

The MoU between RURA and ARPTC comes only weeks after the South African and Mozambican telecoms regulators reached a similar agreement.

Rubben Mohlaloga, Acting Chairperson of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) said at the time that the regulators MoU with Mozambique's Autoridade Reguladora Das Communicações will lead to cooperation and coordination in respect of spectrum management for telecommunications and broadcasting services.

"It is our commitment as regulators to make expertise, infrastructure and equipment available to assist each other on regulatory matters, including radio frequency spectrum investigations, possible cross-border spill-overs and of course, co-ordination of our services."

Malawi and Zambia through the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) and the Malawi Communications and Regulatory Authority (Macra) have also committed to a memorandum of understanding to address issues of cross-border spill-over of telecommunications and broadcasting frequencies among other matters.

In a report on the role of African regulators released earlier this year by the Brookings Africa Growth Initiative, Professor Njuguna S. Ndung'u, Kenyan economist and former Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya says a good regulatory environment across Africa supports innovation in the market and can help to ensure greater access, efficiency, safety, and reliability which is required for progress.

"A regulatory approach and a regulatory environment that will encourage innovation and entrepreneurship is what African economies should strive to achieve in 2017, but also work on the pitfalls that can disrupt the process that will kill innovativeness and broad-based growth across sectors."

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