Sahel countries agree to end mobile roaming charges in 2019
Five countries in north Africa have come a step closer to removing mobile roaming charges.
Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Chad – the members of the G5 Sahel, a regional cooperation and development group – say they want mobile roaming charges to end in 2019.
The Council of Ministers of the G5 Sahel adopted a text agreeing the move at their meeting in Niamey, Niger, this week.
The five countries occupy a large area of land around the Sahel, to the south of the Sahara, with a combined population of almost 80 million. Their heads of state have already resolved to strengthen regional integration.
Tontama Charles Millogo, general director of the Burkina Faso’s regulator, Autorité de Regulation des Communications Électroniques, said that standardising telecoms tariffs “will contribute to a greater integration of populations, and at the same time facilitate intelligence between countries and a more effective fight against terrorism”.
Local media quoted a G5 Sahel executive saying: “Everyone wins because you have a parallel increase in telecom traffic on an international scale that will compensate, in the very short term, the losses or apprehensions that people have at the beginning.”
The heads of state of the G5 Sahel members still have to approve the final text.