07 Nov Gambia looking at full international gateway liberalisation next year
According to Gambia’s Minister of Information and Communications Infrastructure Demba Jawo – quoted by The Point newspaper – the government is aiming to ‘fully liberalise’ the country’s international telecoms gateway, with a final decision on the proposed move expected by January 2018, when the current six-month gateway management term of state-owned Gamtel expires. Previously, alternative operators were given rights to operate their own international data links, but the voice gateway has remained a monopoly of Gamtel, which took over direct running of the operation from intermediary provider MGI in July 2017.
Minister Jawo was also quoted as saying that the ICT Agency Bill has been drafted and will be presented to the National Assembly for adoption ‘before the end of the year’, enabling the establishment of the National ICT Agency in line with government strategy to ‘enhance coordination of activities in the sector’.
Jawo also noted that the government via Gamtel is set to implement the National Broadband Network (NBN) project, following the successful implementation of the related ECOWAN Project, with further fibre-optic rollouts aimed at reducing the digital divide. The minister added that the project also seeks to ‘address the last mile connectivity issues in the country’, and furthermore involves establishing a data centre for the government. Project costs will run into USD25 million to be financed as a concessionary loan from EXIMBANK.