Posted by: africanpressorganization | 9 February 2011

CTO’s Universal Service Workshop Concludes in Cameroon





CTO’s Universal Service Workshop Concludes in Cameroon



LONDON, United-Kingdom, February 9, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), the premier ICT agency of the Commonwealth, concluded today a three-day workshop on Managing Universal Service Funds in Cameroon. The event drew some fifty delegates from a broad spectrum of stakeholders in Cameroon engaged in managing the country’s nascent Universal Service Fund, the Special Fund for Telecommunications, including delegates from the Telecommunications Regulatory Board, the Ministries of Telecommunications, Finance and Regional Development as well as the Office of the Prime Minister. Two delegates from neighbouring Chad also took part in the workshop.


The workshop examined the current status of Universal Service Fund management in Cameroon in the context of recognised best practices from Latin America, Asia and Africa. There was in-depth analysis of policy and regulatory frameworks, operational models, intervention strategies, financing modalities, along with deeper analysis of selected Latin American and African Universal Service Funds.


During the sessions Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, the Chief Executive Officer of the CTO commended the Cameroonian Telecommunications Special Fund (TSF) for identifying some novel revenue streams, particularly the revenue from a Universal Telephone Directory and contributions from provincial and local governments. But the CEO also drew the attention of the delegates to the areas where further strengthening is needed to make the Special Fund effective. During his presentations to the delegates, Dr Spio-Garbrah said that “Cameroon could learn from the success stories, particularly the established Universal Service Funds in Africa, in order to avoid the pitfalls and to cheetah-pall vault to the next stage.” According to him, establishing clear aims and objectives, and putting in place a strategic plan and resourcing would enable the Special Fund to achieve greater success and to deliver ICT connectivity to the far corners of Cameroon.


The CTO informed delegates that following the workshop, the CTO would continue to stand ready to assist Cameroon to adopt appropriate strategies to judiciously invest the money collected, to establish a fully-structured Secretariat for the TSF, and to help it to generate exceptional results. In fact, according to Dr. Spio-Garbrah, the CTO is currently providing such assistance to the National Communications Commission of Sierra Leone by providing technical assistance to carry out an Access Gap study to base intervention strategies of the newly created Universal Service Development Fund.


Commenting on the event and its relevance to Cameroon Mr. Jean Louis Beh-Mengue, the General Manager of the Telecommunications Regulatory Board of Cameroon (TRB) said, “TRB is on the threshold of a new era, one that has the potentiality to bring hope, new knowledge and a brighter future for the masses of Cameroon. If we utilise the resources of the Special Fund properly we could not only provide basic access but bring the potentials of modern day ICTs also within the reach of all Cameroonians regardless of where they live. The TRB will work with all stakeholders to make this dream come true. In this endeavour the assistance of the Global CT community is a vital factor and the TRB is grateful to the CTO for having taken the lead.”


About The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO)


The CTO is an inter-governmental organization which provides technical assistance services to its member countries through research and studies, consultancies and advisory services, capacity building and training workshops, and through knowledge-sharing events. With a history dating back to 1901, the CTO is a partnership between the Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth governments, regulators, businesses, civil society organizations and other ICT stakeholders. The CTO’s mission is to reduce global poverty through the more efficient utilization of ICTs, and its development agenda reflects the priorities set in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).


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Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO)


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