Press Releases

ECOWAS Holds its 1st Preparatory Meeting towards the World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC)

10 Aug, 2020





World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC) are organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) every three to four years to review, and, if necessary, revise the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum and the geostationary and non-geostationary-satellite orbits. The last conference was concluded on 22nd November 2019 and the next conference is to be held in 2023, and the preparation towards this conference has already kicked off in the various regions across Africa and globally.
From the above, the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) convened experts in charge of radio frequency spectrum administration in Member States for the first (1st) in a series of meetings in preparation towards the World Radiocommunications Conference scheduled to be held in 2023 (WRC-23).
Preparatory meetings are organised by ECOWAS with a view towards the formulation of the ECOWAS Common Positions (ECOCOP) on WRC agenda items, which reflect the interests of the region. The agreed ECOCOPs are considered in the preparation of the African common positions to be presented at the WRC.
The meeting held from 27 to 28 July 2020, aimed to acquaint experts with the items to be dealt with by the WRC-23, and which will be the focus of research and studies in the years leading up to the conference. It was also meant to adopt a structure for the ECOWAS region’s preparations towards the WRC.
In opening this 1ST Preparatory meeting, Dr. Kouame Raphael Koffi, Acting Director for Digital Economy and Post of the ECOWAS Commission, on behalf of the Commissioner for Telecommunication and Information Technologies, noted that the commencement of the preparatory cycle for the WRC-23 coincided with the worst global health crisis in modern history, and this has necessitated the adoption of new ways of working and interaction in the socio-economic space made possible by ICT. He thus emphasised the importance of universal access to ICTs at an affordable cost to ensure that all citizens are able to engage in all socio-economic activities. He highlighted that spectrum administration is critical to achieving digital access and digital inclusion. In that regard, the spectrum requirements for these digital aspirations should be at the forefront as region commences the cycle of preparation towards the WRC-23.
Engineer Augustine K. Nwaulune, Director of Spectrum Administration at the Nigerian Communications Commission and chair of ECOWAS’ preparatory cycle towards the previous WRC (WRC-19) noted that the bulk of the ECOCOPs adopted in that preparatory cycle were retained in the African common positions which indicated good preparation by the region. He therefore applauded the efforts of the Member States in reaching this outcome and urged the same commitment to the preparation for WRC-23.
At the end of the two-day meeting, the structure for the organisation of the ECOWAS region’s preparation was adopted and experts from Member States were assigned to coordinate the work in the various working groups created as part of the structure. Niger and Ghana were appointed Chair and Vice Chair respectively for the preparatory cycle for the ECOWAS region in readiness for the WRC-23.
In addition, some ICT industry players participating in the meeting were also given the opportunity to contribute industry views on the various agenda items of the WRC-23. They highlighted the key issues on spectrum planning and administration which ECOWAS should pay attention to during the preparation of ECOCOPs for the benefit of citizens and industry.

Member States