In collaboration with West African telecom regulators, the NCC is working to tackle e-fraud

Under the auspices of the West African Telecoms Regulators Assembly (WATRA), the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and other telecoms regulators will develop technical and regulatory modalities aimed at combating the rising wave of electronic frauds and standardizing regional roaming tariffs in the sub-region.

This was the focus of a two-day meeting held by WATRA in partnership with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at the Rockview Hotel in Abuja on Tuesday, October 26, 2021.


Representatives from telecoms regulators from across West Africa attended the meeting, which provided a forum for key participants and stakeholders to discuss how to create a unified market for telecommunications services in West Africa, combat roaming and cyber-related fraud, and achieve roaming tariff standardization among ECOWAS member-states.


Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC and Chairman of WATRA, addressed stakeholders at the meeting, emphasizing the importance of the gathering by emphasizing that as businesses go online, so do fraudsters.


Danbatta, who was represented by Bako Wakil, NCC’s Director of Technical Standards and Network Integrity, said that, based on this fact, regulators must tame and outpace fraudsters in order to give West African citizens and businesses the confidence to fully exploit the enormous benefits of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).


“Around 75% of commerce inside ECOWAS is unofficial and consequently unrecorded. As a result, digitizing this commerce by utilizing a variety of electronic payment methods is an important step toward formalizing, controlling, and promoting intra-ECOWAS trade.”



“Our goals are to formalize informal commerce, including agricultural goods, as well as enhance intra-regional trade, which necessitates better collaboration in the fight against electronic fraud,” Danbatta added.


Danbatta told the attendees at the meeting that electronic fraud is a global phenomena, not just an African or West African problem. He highlighted statistics showing that 54% of European Union customers believe they are most likely to encounter misleading/deceptive or fraudulent adverts or offers on the Internet.


On the regional roaming service, the WATRA Chairman stated that the Assembly envisions a “Digital ECOWAS,” in which enhanced sub-regional roaming regulations can aid regional economic integration.


“When our residents, traders, and businesses can use their phones to call contacts in other ECOWAS nations and use their data subscriptions at no extra cost when traveling or doing business within the region, they will trade better.” As a result, lowering and eventually eliminating roaming costs will be a huge help in strengthening regional trade,” Danbatta added.


The EVC expressed satisfaction with the level of collaboration in the sub-region between national regulatory authorities on the one hand, and WATRA and ECOWAS on the other, to achieve a common goal, describing such synergy as a great indicator of progress and internalisation of best global practices.

“I am delighted to witness the great teamwork and task sharing between ECOWAS and WATRA’s telecommunications bodies and staff.” Their functions have evolved into complementary and mutually reinforcing policy and legal frameworks developed at the ECOWAS level, with WATRA handling the follow-up job of information sharing, dialogue, and learning dissemination among regulatory authorities. He went on to say, “It’s starting to sound like a well-crafted symphony.”


Aliyu Aboki, the Executive Secretary of WATRA, had earlier in his welcome address emphasized the need of a trusted digital economy to any nation. He cited an Accenture study that concludes that “a trusted digital economy would stimulate 2.8 percent additional growth for major firms, with new transactions totaling $5.2 trillion in value creation in the economy,” thus justifying the formation and implementation of national and regional anti-fraud committees.


“This regional sharing of the massive burden of developing Digital ECOWAS to operate very well through WATRA, which is a regional embodiment of this collaborative organization,” Aboki said of ECOWAS. WATRA, as a framework for regional regulatory collaboration, will work in tandem to ensure that its aim is quickly realized by ensuring that no nation in the region is left behind, according to the WATRA Chief.



Dr. Raphael Koffi, the Acting Director, Digital Economy and Post, ECOWAS, said that while e-fraud in the provision of communication services has always been an issue that has been addressed collectively, differences in termination rates agreed in commercial roaming agreements have also posed a barrier to roaming tariff harmonization, which WATRA and ECOWAS collaboration is set to achieve, he said.


The status of the Removal of Surcharges on International Traffic (SIIT) on ECOWAS countries, as well as the development of a consistent rate cap for roaming call termination throughout the ECOWAS region, were among the topics discussed at the meeting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Next Post

Meta is the new name for Facebook.

Thu Oct 28 , 2021
PRIMARY CONCEPTS •Facebook announced on Thursday that it has changed its name to Meta. •The company’s burgeoning goals beyond social media are reflected in the name change, which was unveiled during the Facebook Connect augmented and virtual reality conference. •The rebranding comes as the corporation has faced a bombardment of […]

You May Like