From Left: East African Communications Organization Executive Secretary Mr. Hodge Semakula, International Telecommunications Union’s Senior Advisor for the regional office for Africa Tayeb Marcelino, Mr.Henry Mungasia, Senior Administrative Secretary, Ministry of ICT and Mr.Tom Olwero, Acting, Director, Frequency Spectrum Managament, Communications Authority of Kenya during the Conformance and Interoperability workshop for the East African region in Nairobi.

The East African Community has began efforts harmonize standardization of ICT goods  and services within the region and to align them with international standards.

Delegates from the EAC member states began a three-day Conformance and Interoperability workshop in Nairobi to review and validate a study by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) on the regulatory regimes in force in the region to enhance collaboration  in establishing common conformance and interoperability of ICT goods and services across the region. 

Speaking at the event, ICT Principal Secretary Joseph Tiampati, in a speech read by Senior Administrative Secretary, Henry Mung’asia, said that the region and the African continent are major consumers of technology hence the urgent need to ensure such goods  not only meet the set standards, but are also safe to the users. 

‘‘This urgency stems from the fact that the global telecoms market has in recent years become awash with counterfeits. This situation poses grave danger for Africa, which lacks the expertise and the facilities to test ICT equipment entering the region for quality, interoperability and safety,’’ said Mr.Tiampati.

The CA Director General Mr. Francis Wangusi, represented by the Acting Director, Frequency Spectrum Management Mr. Tom Olwero, said Kenya  regularly enforces regulations governing importation, type approval and distribution of communication equipment.   

 The regulations also require suppliers or vendors of equipment to submit samples which are subjected to functional tests, including verification of conformance and a certification granted  by an accredited laboratory.  

According to the East Africa Communications Organization (EACO), the reduction in the period taken in the development and implementation of new technologies and services has increased the danger of incompatibility of ICT equipment and failure to achieve seamless interoperability of networks.

‘‘It is critical for policy makers and regulators in collaboration with relevant regional and international bodies to establish policy and regulatory frameworks which will establish and monitor compliance with set technical standards for ICT products and services before they are deployed in the market place,’’ said EACO Executive Officer, Hodge Semakula.

The event was also addressed by the International Telecommunications Union’s senior advisor, regional office for Africa,Tayoub Marcelino.