Somalia gov’t intends to create independent telecoms regulator
Few nations lack a dedicated telecommunications regulator. These days, most have an independent regulator, some have a state-controlled regulator, and a couple only have a ministry that more-or-less covers regulatory duties. Not surprisingly, Somalia is one of the few African nations that lacks a regulator. (For reference, Libya, Seychelles, and Western Sahara are the others.)
Although Somalia’s Ministry of Posts & Communications oversees all telecoms operations, the government is scattered and ineffective (the ministry website hasn’t been updated since 2009).
However, we were shocked to read how Somali telecommunications stakeholders recently hammered out a draft communications law that will establish a legal framework for Somalia’s nascent telecoms industry. Ministry of Posts & Communications representatives were even present to discuss the main goal of the workshop: to establish a well-defined independent regulator by the end of the year. The hope is that the regulator, to be designed as the Somali Communications Commission, will promote investment, encourage fair competition, and diligently monitor prices for services.
Hopefully the law can pass relatively quickly, but not so hastily that it lacks substance. A lot is riding on the Communications Act. As the Minister of Information, Posts, and Telecommunications points out, the act will be “a key step in the process of strengthening the rule of Law in Somalia”. The banner for the event even highlighted the ability of ICT to bring peace.
Of course, the question remains whether the SCC, once created, will enforce (or be able to physically enforce) the telecoms law.