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Working meeting on ICT for Development in Liberia Georgia Institute of Technology. The role of the World Bank By Boutheina Guermazi GICT. A snapshot of the sector. 2004: Key characteristics of a post conflict Environment Demolished fixed network and distressed incumbent

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working meeting on ict for development in liberia georgia institute of technology

Working meeting on ICT for Development in LiberiaGeorgia Institute of Technology

The role of the World Bank


Boutheina Guermazi


a snapshot of the sector
A snapshot of the sector
  • 2004: Key characteristics of a post conflict Environment
    • Demolished fixed network and distressed incumbent
    • Vibrant mobile sector:
      • High return in high risk environment
      • Low entry fees: license fees negotiated down
      • Huge unmet demand
    • Lack of policy, legal and regulatory framework

→Ad hoc liberalization process

→Duplicative/conflicting spectrum assignment

world bank involvement in a nutshell
World Bank involvement in a nutshell:
  • Objective: Promoting an enabling environment for the sector
      • through TA and policy dialogue
      • No investment involved
  • Approach: holistic and phased
      • policy, legal, regulatory, institutional, market structure, market players
      • Immediate, medium and long terms plans
  • Methodology
    • Reflects best practice: post conflict, ECOWAS guidelines, WTO
    • responds to the unique needs of Liberia
    • participatory to ensure buy-in and local ownership
world bank involvement 2
World Bank Involvement 2
  • Spectrum Management - GSM Assignments Rationalization -2004
  • Telecommunications Policy and Strategy Project – June 2005
    • Draft Policy & Strategy Report
    • Validation Workshop/ Public consultation
    • Finalize Policy and Strategy June 30
  • Authorizing Instruments – June 2005
    • Bill 18
    • Model Mobile License
    • Draft Telecommunications Act
  • Spectrum Revenues – Methodology and Recommendations – August 2005
  • Telecom Network Infrastructure Study and Recommendations – August 2005
  • Fixed Network Rehabilitation Tender – 2006
  • Technical Assistance to the LTA – Ongoing 2006
  • Ongoing Policy Dialogue
policy reform guiding principles
Policy reform: Guiding Principles
  • Promote development of the Liberian telecommunications sector markets, investment and infrastructure;
    • Through market liberalization, private sector expansion, and fair and effective competition throughout the telecommunications sector;
    • Embracing technological neutrality to promote Access
    • By creating and establishing an independent Regulatory Agency responsible for telecommunications and spectrum regulation;
    • Adopting universal access strategies for telecommunications services throughout Liberia.
    • Affordable prices, high quality services & responsive customer service;
legal reform
Legal Reform
  • Builds on policy and strategy work
  • Adopts a two-phased approach to sector reform:
    • “Authorizing Instrument” creating interim regulatory framework:
      • Developed and approved by the NTGL
      • Needed for immediate certainty for the sector without long term implications for the new Government
    • “Transitional License” for mobile operators
      • Need to bring license terms and conditions in line with international best practice
    • Draft Law establishes regulatory framework in longer term
objectives of legal reform
Objectives of Legal reform
  • Reform telecoms regulatory framework to:
    • Provide better guidance for regulatory authority and operators alike
    • Improve quality, transparency and predictability of regulation
    • Implement best international practices
    • Further encourage operator investment and development of services

Institutional Framework

  • An independent regulator as a referee between market players
      • Regulator separate from Government, particularly because Government owns a telecoms operator
      • Characteristics of independence include separate exercise of authority, appointment, budget and other operating independence
  • But given importance of telecoms to broader economic & social interests, Government has legitimate role in sector policy and development
  • Licenses to be issued and enforced by Regulator
  • License is a grant of permission, not a contract (standard international practice)
  • Regulator to set license conditions
    • License conditions not to discriminate among operators
    • Initial licenses to include detailed conditions
    • In longer term, include conditions in regulations of general application (i.e. not individual licenses)
spectrum management
Spectrum Management
  • Radio spectrum shall be recognized as a strategic national public resource.
  • LTA is responsible for Spectrum Planning, Frequency Allocation, and Spectrum Assignments and Authorizations and will establish rules and guidelines to ensure effective management of the radio spectrum resource
  • Spectrum pricing:
      • Ensure efficient use of the radio frequency spectrum
      • Maximize the economic benefit derived from spectrum use
      • Cover the costs of spectrum management activities
competition policy
Competition Policy
  • Duties of Regulator
    • Designate Dominant Service Providers (DSPs)
    • Control abuse of dominance
      • Examples include refusing to supply essential facilities, predatory pricing and misuse of competitor information
      • Powers granted to regulator to control abuse
    • Prevent other anti-competitive agreements and practices
      • Examples include price fixing, bid rigging, market sharing
    • Merger and ownership review powers (again, DSP emphasis)
  • Regulator to:
    • Facilitate interconnection
    • Supervise interconnection and enforce rules
  • All SPs have a duty to negotiate interconnection agreements
  • DSPs have additional duties
    • Cost based interconnection charges; other costing rules as defined by Regulator
    • May not discriminate between SPs or between an affiliate and an independent SP
    • Must prepare a Reference Interconnection Offer
    • Must publish interconnection agreements
consumer protection
Consumer Protection
  • Quality of Service
    • Create Technical standards
    • Develop penalties and recourse regulations
  • Fraud Prevention
    • Protect consumers from unfair and deceptive practices and services
    • Create a Formal Complaint Process
  • Public Participation & Access to Information
challenges of reform
Challenges of Reform
  • Difficult policy dialogue in a challenging governance environment
  • Managing transition between Governments
  • Winning over concerns of market players and pressing needs for predictability, transparency and consultation
  • Finding the right balance between government needs and sector needs
unique opportunities
Unique Opportunities
  • Government with a clear vision for sector reform and commitment to use ICT for economic and social reconstruction of post war Liberia
    • Telecom reform in the 150 day plan
  • Possibilities for technological leapfrogging:
    • Legacy networks Vs. new technologies
  • Possibilities of regulatory leapfrogging:
    • Implementing converged regulations
    • Including competition policy and consumer regulation
moving forward
Moving Forward
  • How to revitalize the fixed network?
  • Dealing with the incumbent
  • Approaches for building a backbone infrastructure
  • Connecting Government Ministries
  • Bringing the benefits of connectivity to Liberian citizens: need for universal access policy and implementation strategy
  • Promoting ICT applications in education, health Government services
from telecom reform to an e agenda
From Telecom Reform to an e-agenda

The building blocs for an e-agenda for Liberia

  • Access Layer: responding to the access deficit
    • Infrastructure: fixed, mobile and broadband
      • Innovative approaches to access (community based vs. individual)
    • other access tools ( hardware and software)
  • Application layer: E-government, health and education
  • Trust and confidence: e-security, e-transactions, IPRS..
conclusion ict enabler for economic and social development


Less isolation in poor and rural areas


Financial Sector




social cohesion

Business Services

Conclusion:ICT enabler for economic and social development








MDG 1Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

MDG 5Improve maternal health





MDG 2Achieve universal primary education

MDG 6Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

Private Sector






MDG 3Promote gender equality and empower women

MDG 7Ensure environmental sustainability








MDG 4Reduce child mortality

MDG 8Build a global partnership for development

Conclusion 2Linking ICT to the MDG’s


thank you
Thank you

Boutheina Guermazi

Global Information and Communication 

Technologies Department (GICT) Policy Division (CITPO)The World Bank GroupTel: + 1 (202) 473 9729fax: +1 (202) 522 3001e-mail: