PURA Hosts WATRA Working Group Meeting in Banjul

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Delegates and officials at the Banjul Meeting

By Fatou Dahaba

The Public Utility and Regulatory Authority (PURA) is hosting a four-day West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA) Working Groups meeting in The Gambia, which opens on Monday, June 10th, 2024.

The meeting will open doors for partnerships and forge a common goal of advancing telecommunications in the sub-region. It also signifies the trust and confidence bestowed on regulatory actors in the telecommunications sector.

The  theme for the meeting is “Enhancing Digital Transformation in West Africa: Strengthening Connectivity, Security, and Access,”

Lamin Camara, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Of Communication and Digital Economics, states that the theme of the meeting is timely, especially in a highly interconnected world, and The importance of robust and reliable telecommunications infrastructure cannot be overstated.

“It Is the backbone of our economies, a critical enabler of innovation, and a cornerstone for achieving inclusive, sustainable growth and development.”

According to PS Camara, the theme of this meeting aligns with the vision of the national broadband policy and strategy, which aims to transform The Gambia into a knowledge-based economy that thrives on an accessible, secure, and high-speed broadband ecosystem within an open access regime.

He said The Gambia used to rely on a single satellite gateway with limited capacity to connect with other countries and people regionally and globally. He added that the government invested in bringing the ACE Submarine Cable Landing to our soils in 2012.

“Through regional collaboration, we can harmonize our regulatory frameworks, share best practices, and collectively address the challenges that limit our progress. The Gambia stands ready to play a leading role in this noble endeavor.

We are committed to fostering a collaborative spirit among WATRA member states, leveraging our collective expertise, and working towards achieving the common goals.”

Dr. Njogou L Bah, Director General of PURA, said the fundamental goal of the Banjul meeting is to encourage African countries to promote and adopt the recommendations from the working group meetings.

‘The theme of the meeting could not be timelier and more relevant in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape. As we stand on the cusp of a new era defined by unprecedented technological advancement, we must come together to chart a course that ensures our region remains at the forefront of  innovation and progress.’

DG Bah mentioned that connectivity lies at the heart of the digital future, serving as the lifeline that links to endless possibilities and opportunities.

‘By strengthening our connectivity infrastructure, we pave the way for increased collaboration, economic growth, and social development across our nations.’
The Executive Secretary of WATRA, Mr. Aliyu Yusuf Aboki, emphasizes the need for active collaboration among regional stakeholders.

He said regional integration and the perspective of countries of such nature effectively collaborate, and he wants to see that commitment, especially in advancing the telecommunications sector.

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