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ECOWAS telecommunications priority is the development of a reliable and modern regional Telecoms broadband infrastructure including the INTELCOM II programme, alternative broadband infrastructures and sub marine cables as well as the establishment of single liberalized telecoms market.

So far eleven (11) coastal member States were connected to submarine cables with at least one (1) new landing station and the three landlocked countries (Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger) have now at least 2 access routes to the submarine cables.

A detailed feasibility study including business plan is ongoing on the missing inter-states links in the ECOWAS region with a focus on Mano River countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea), Mali and Guinea Bissau. Two studies to develop a harmonized law on the right of way to facilitate transit and reduce cost for the access to submarine cables by ECOWAS landlocked countries and another on taxation on Telecommunication/ICT services and related products in the region, being funded by the ITU through the HIPSSA project and the AfDB respectively, have been completed and validated by the Member States. The draft regulation to facilitate access of landlocked countries will be reviewed for validation prior to its submission to the Ministers.

Many ECOWAS Countries have drafted and adopted a national Law on Cyber security in compliance with Community texts in order to secure cyber space including Child Online Protection (COP).

The eleventh meeting of the ECOWAS Ministers in charge of Telecoms/ICT adopted common minimum technical specifications for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) receivers in the ECOWAS region to ensure their affordability and a Roadmap for the implementation of the DTT. The ECOWAS Ministers in charge of Telecom/ICT after officially set up adopted the Convention on the West African Postal Conference (WAPCO) as well as the Rules of Procedure of the WAPCO, requested ECOWAS to support the activities of WAPCO, and in the mid-term, transform WAPCO into a Specialized Agency for Postal Sector. The Ministers also agreed to work with telecommunications operators in the region to implement a proposal for a 50% region-wide reduction in the cost of telecommunications services on the ECOWAS Day (May 28th) for the benefit of the citizens and for the regional integration purpose.

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