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Joint Effort Urged to Safeguard West Africa’s Undersea Cables

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In light of recent disruptions caused by undersea cable cuts affecting connectivity across West Africa, Nigeria advocates for a unified approach to safeguard shared telecommunications infrastructure. Dr. Aminu Maida, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), emphasized the need for coordinated action during the 21st West Africa Telecommunications Regulatory Assembly (WATRA) Annual General Meeting held in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

Dr. Maida highlighted the significant impact of recent cable cuts, which led to widespread outages across 12 African countries, underscoring the urgency for regional collaboration to prevent similar incidents in the future. He referenced a report by Cloudflare, which revealed ongoing disruptions in several West African nations due to the cable cuts.

Emphasizing the importance of secure telecom infrastructure for attracting foreign investment and fostering economic growth, Dr. Maida proposed establishing a framework for joint monitoring, risk mitigation, and emergency response procedures. He suggested expanding the mandate of the WATRA Working Group on Infrastructure to develop a comprehensive strategy for safeguarding telecommunications networks and associated infrastructure in the sub-region.

The proposal aims to enhance infrastructure resilience, promote connectivity diversification, and designate telecommunications infrastructure as critical national assets in member countries. The West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly, comprising 16 member states, serves as a platform to promote regulations that stimulate investment in telecommunication infrastructure for delivering affordable, accessible, and secure communication services.

During the AGM, discussions also focused on improving consumer protection, quality of service, roaming, and conflict resolution. Engr. Yusuf Aliyu Aboki of Nigeria was reelected as Executive Secretary for a second term, with member countries praising his leadership and urging continued collaboration to advance the interests of the sub-region.

 

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