Regionalizing Reform of Telecommunication Sector Regulation in the East African Community (EAC): Lessons from the Experience of the European Union (EU)
35 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2014
Date Written: September 10, 2014
In the East African community (EAC), there has been an increasing recognition that significant welfare gains could be realized through deep forms of regional integration which entail harmonization of legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks for the telecommunication sector. Implementation of the EAC common market and rapid technological progress especially in mobile wireless technology, have made greater coordination and harmonization of telecommunications policy more attractive. Moreover, the EAC consists of less wealthy nations and therefore an interest in regionalization is essential as a means to pool regulatory resources. This paper assesses the potential gains from regionalized telecommunications policy in the EAC. The paper seeks to assist stakeholders in the EAC and Member States in designing an effective regional regulatory process. To this end, the paper: (i) discusses how EAC regional cooperation can overcome national limits in technical expertise, enhance the capacity of Member States to commit to stable regulatory policy in the EAC and ultimately facilitate infrastructure investment in the region; (ii) identifies trade-distorting regulations that inhibit opportunities for regional telecommunication development and so are good candidates for regional negotiations that reduce indirect market entry barriers; (iii) discusses the EU’s ongoing reforms towards a single market for electronic communication for a connected continent as a case study that the EAC can draw lessons from and there after describes substantive elements of a harmonized regional regulatory policy that can deliver performance benefits.
Keywords: Telecom reforms, legislation, regulation, regional, East African Community
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