President Sirleaf Opens 14th Annual West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly; Says ECOWAS is Transitioning from Community of States to One of People

Thursday, 27th April 2017

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Monrovia, Liberia: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has opened the 14th Annual West Africa Telecommunications Regulatory Assembly in Monrovia. She recalled that when the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was organized many years ago, the main purpose for its formation has been to seek and promote political dialogue and settlement of various kinds amongst and between countries of the Sub-region.

According to an Executive Mansion release, President made the statement on Thursday, April 27, 2017, when she officially opened a two-day West Africa Telecommunications Regulatory Assembly Conference - at the Bella Casa Hotel on 3rd Street, Sinkor, which brought together delegates from ECOWAS Member States under the auspices of the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA).

The Liberian leader used the occasion to challenge delegates attending the West Africa Telecommunications Regulatory Assembly to take into account the issue of seeking and promoting consumers’ interest. She called on Member States not to only focus on urban areas but the rural parts of the ECOWAS sub-region in order to protect the interests of students, small businesses, farmers and ordinary people.

She said ECOWAS is transforming itself from a Community of States to a Community of People - while emphasizing that ECOWAS is taking practical steps to meeting the collective socio-economic needs of its people. President Sirleaf said one of the key strategies is to facilitate inclusive growth and progress among its people.

She named telecommunication, transportation, energy, agriculture, security and Commerce and trade as programs in progress to meet the general objectives. She however expressed satisfaction with the level of developments that have taken place over the last few years in the ICT sector of ECOWAS. She commended the West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly especially the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) for the conference and expressed the hope for healthy deliberations.     

Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the West Africa Telecommunications regulatory Assembly (WATRA), Mr. Gaoo Gomes, said even though judging from what they have been experiencing over the years, it is difficult to protect the interests of consumers in the sector. However, he was quick to add that despite that - the key tasks of (WATRA) is to fight for the better and keep improving the sector with a view to protecting the interests of consumers.

He noted that WATRA was established in 2004 to address all of the West Africa Telecommunications Regulatory Assembly (WATRA) in 2004 to address all of the telecommunications network problems in the West African sub-region. He commended President Sirleaf for her continued support to the sector by creating the enabling environment to improve the sector in Liberia and other parts of the region.

The opening ceremony was attended by senior government officials including Dr. Frederick Norkeh, Minister of Post and Telecommunications, Chair, Senate Committee on Telecommunications, Hon. Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, Grand Kru County Representatives, Nimene Bartekwa, Chair, House Standing Committee on Telecommunications, representative from Liberia’s GSM operators respectively.