Ericsson and the Communications Regulators Association of Southern Africa (CRASA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support the accelerated development of policies and regulations in the ICT sector of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
CRASA is a consultative body that was set up by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regulators to effectively develop harmonised policies and regulations for the ICT sector in the region.

Spanning three years, Ericsson in collaboration with CRASA will organize and facilitate capacity building workshops geared towards the development of National Broadband Plans (NBPs).

These sessions will focus on specific concerns related to ICT in the 15 member countries of the SADC who are planning, developing or revising and amending their broadband policies. Ericsson brings a wealth of global experience and local insights on developing and implementing ICT legislative and policy frameworks.

Antony Chigaazira, executive secretary of CRASA, says: “There has been a slow adoption of NBPs in the SADC region and we need to speed up the process so that countries lagging behind can also enjoy the benefits that come with technology evolution. Governments have a duty to create an enabling environment for the creation and adoption of broadband across all sectors and we are happy to be partnering with Ericsson on this journey.”

Ericsson will be playing a support role to the member states and sharing global best practices that can be implemented in the region. Ericsson will also advise member states on global technology developments, policy and regulatory approaches. The focus will be on how governments can most effectively harness ICT to manage domestic imperatives; to improve governance; and reposition national economies and industries for competitiveness in the global economy.

Shiletsi Makhofane, vice-president and head of government and industry relations at Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa, says: “An increasing number of countries are formulating NBPs or policies aimed at promoting broadband. These plans and policies are important in helping governments to set visions and strategies of how the development of technology can move their countries forward. The partnership with CRASA will allow us share global best practices and help SADC realize the economic benefits of universal broadband.”

The adoption of NBP policies will increase the roll out of broadband infrastructure in the SADC region which will have a major impact on the economy. The deployment of network facilities will also lead to increased innovation, new ways of doing business, improve education levels through e-learning and enhance health welfare through e-health ultimately improving the quality of life.