Telecommunications in the African Small Island Developing States
37 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2010
Date Written: April 2, 2010
Analysis, research and training about telecommunications in Africa focus on a few larger markets, though with growing interest in pan-African operators. At the other extreme lie the Small Island Developing States (SIDS): the Cape Verde Islands, the Union of the Comoros, Mauritius, São Tomé & Principe and the Seychelles. These are literally on the margin, both geographically and in the functioning of their ICT markets, facing specific challenges in crafting courses towards their own information societies. They face disproportionate problems in creating and regulating properly functioning markets, notably in sustaining competition. Maintaining a policy unit in a ministry is expensive and difficult to justify, while a regulatory authority can be funded by taxing operators. Basic regulatory instruments (e.g., auctioning of spectrum, number portability and local loop unbundling) and some policy instruments (e.g., public consultations and parliamentary oversight committees) do not work easily on a very small scale. Some of the SIDS benefit from tourism and from this roaming revenues flow to the mobile operators. This paper synthesises the lessons from the African SIDS and identifies areas for further research.
Keywords: Africa, SIDS, Telecommunications, Regulation, Privatization, Development
JEL Classification: N37, L96, N47
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation