Central African states edge closer to free roaming
Member countries of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) are considering eliminating international roaming charges levied on voice calls.
Telecommunication officials from Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon are also seeking to cut interconnection rates among operators in the sub-region.
On 28 February 2020 Minette Libom Li Likeng, Cameroon’s minister of posts and telecommunications, presided over a meeting grouping telecommunications ministers from the CEMAC zone.
According to a media advisory, officials looked to establish a framework agreement to abolish roaming charges for electronic communications.
Their proposal will be communicated to the Council of Ministers of the Central African Economic Union for eventual adoption.
CEMAC’s strategy, dubbed Vision 2025, seeks to make the sub-region “an emerging and integrated economic space characterised by security, solidarity and good governance in the service of human development.”
Amongst others, the sub-region is eager to harmonise sectoral policies and legal frameworks that will create a common market for goods, capital, and services.
Mobile users in the CEMAC zone pay exorbitant surcharges for mobile cellular calls when they move between various countries.
In Cameroon, some operators charge as much as FCFA 5,000 per minute for incoming calls on roaming, while subscription for prepaid roaming stands at FCFA 10,000.
World Bank data shows that Africans devote 25% averagely of their monthly gross national income per capita in mobile calls, unlike other developing nations that pay 11%.
Cameroon, Chad, Gabon and Congo are already members of Smart Africa Alliance that supports the ‘One Africa Network’ which aims to reduce roaming charges among some 30 participating African countries.