Telecom regulators seek adoption of a single emergency number
Telecommunications regulators across Africa have called for the implementation of a single emergency number across the continent.
The regulators met in Nairobi, Kenya, as part of the African Telecommunications Union (ATU), to discuss this ahead of the World Telecommunications Standardization Assembly (WTDC) in India in October.
The event was also intended to develop common stances and protect Africa's interests at WTDC.
More than 200 industry players from across Africa attended the meeting, which included telco regulators and the business sector.
This collaborative endeavour aims to enable quick and efficient access to emergency services, considerably improving response times in crisis situations across Africa.
The regulators want Member States to look into the idea of implementing a globally harmonised emergency number to supplement existing domestic emergency numbers, taking into account relevant International Telecommunications Union recommendations.
‘’Africa needs a common emergency telecommunications number so that countries can cooperate in responding to disasters such as floods.’’ ATU secretary general John Omo said.
Kenya's cabinet secretary for information, communications, and the digital Economy, Eliud Owalo, who was also present at the summit, stated that telecoms standards are essential for ICT connectivity and industrial development.
“I would like to thank the ITU for transformative standardization work across many areas of ICT, including advanced wireless, broadband, and multimedia technologies. Strong institutions such as the ITU, need to be nurtured and supported to continue redefining innovations in the rapidly evolving ICT sector,” said Owalo.
Speaking at the same session, Communications Authority of Kenya Director General David Mugonyi said that global standards can either accelerate or slow growth.