Uniform Data Costs For SADC

Zimbabwe could soon benefit from a proposal by the Southern Africa Development Community to make all data costs within the region at par in order to foster Information Communications Technology development, an official has said.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a two day Communication Regulators’ Association of Southern Africa (CRASA) Electronic Communications Committee Meeting in Harare, Chairperson of CRASA’s Electronic Communication Committee, Richard Makgotlho said for SADC members to realize ICT development, a consented effort must be put in making data costs at par across all member states.

“We have an upcoming project where we are saying the cost of data accessed by an individual must be the same across all SADC countries. There must be parity on the cost of data that all citizens within the SADC region should access

“We are also coming up with some guidelines which will enforce the reduction of data prices within the SADC region,” Makgotlho.

He said the program which is expected to be rolled out in the next two years will go a long way in assisting the region to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, which are mainly being spearheaded by the availability of data.

His sentiments were echoed by Chalie Tumelo, the International Telecommunication Union representative for Southern Africa, who said ICTs are important in Africa and Southern Africa as a region because they enhance economic and social growth.

“ICTs are like a catalyst to the successful implementation of the SDGs in the Southern African region and Africa as a whole. So we are advocating for the provision of ICTs to everyone be it in the rural areas and in the urban centers. ICTs are not only important in communication but they can foster development in the infrastructure and agricultural sectors,” Said Tumelo.

Meanwhile, Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) has called on the SADC region to make efforts to strengthen the region’s ICT sector in the priority sector of Digital Migration, Regional Content Development and Harmonized Spectrum Management among others.

He said there is need for Africa to speak with one voice in order to transform economies and livelihoods through ICTs.