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Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire commence bilateral ‘Free’ Roaming



The National Communications Authority (NCA), Ghana and its Ivorian counterpart, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Cote d’Ivoire (ARTCI) have launched bilateral roaming services between the two countries.

The service, which was launched on June 14, 2023 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire was under the auspices of Ghana’s Ministry of Communications and Digitalisation (MoCD), and the Ivorian Ministry for Communication and Digital Economy.

This milestone is in fulfilment of the recommendation at the 18th Meeting of the Economic
Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Ministers in Charge of Telecommunications,
ICT, Digitalisation and Post, which required member states that have met all prerequisite
conditions to proceed with the ECOWAS Roaming implementation on a reciprocity basis.

Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire are the first countries to activate roaming services (Voice, SMS
and Data) under the ECOWAS Roaming Regulations. The initiative which was
implemented in collaboration with Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) of both countries is aimed at reducing roaming rates/charges within the two countries and facilitating cross-border movement.

Following the successful launch of the service, subscribers who travel within the two
countries will henceforth be exempted from international roaming charges.

This simply means that Ghanaian subscribers who travel to Cote d’Ivoire will receive calls without paying roaming charges, but will pay just the local rates of Cote d’Ivoire when they initiate a call to Ghana while in Cote d’Ivoire and vice versa.

This exemption, which was made possible by the removal of the surcharge on incoming intra-community roaming traffic in 2019, will result in substantial cost savings and enhance convenience for this category of subscribers.

Head of International Relations at the MoCD, Kwame Baah Acheamfuor, who read the speech on behalf of Ghana’s Communications Minister, said the launch of the ECOWAS Free Roaming Initiative between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire was a major achievement in regional
cooperation and connectivity.

Kwame Baah-Acheamfuor, Head, International Relations, MoCD, delivering a speech on behalf of the Minister, Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

He reaffirmed that it is consistent with the vision of a borderless Africa and emphasized the need for robust cybersecurity measures to protect telecommunications networks.

Kwame Baah Acheamfuor thanked stakeholders and urged concerted action to harness the power of connectivity for the advancement of ECOWAS and Africa.

He further urged Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire to initiate discussions with their respective
remaining neighbouring countries – Togo, Burkina Faso and Liberia, Guinea and Mali
respectively for similar programs to be introduced among them.

Additionally, the two countries were entreated to use the data gathered from the bilateral implementation to assist other ECOWAS member states that intend to implement same.

Chief of Staff to the Ivorian Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Jean-Martial Adou, who read the speech for the Minister, Amadou Coulibaly, reiterated that a call to a neighbouring country like Ghana should not cost more than a call to Europe for

Jean-Martial Adou, Chief of Staff, Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy of Côte d’Ivoire delivering remarks on behalf of the Minister, Mr. Amadou Coulibaly

It is therefore imperative to find ways to reduce the cost of communications between our countries if we wish to develop the South-South cooperation dear to our governments”, Mr. Coulibaly said.

He added that the desire to see both countries develop is another reason his country has enthusiastically welcomed the collaborative initiative between Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.

We therefore did not hesitate to sign our agreement to initiate these exchanges, which in turn received a favourable response from the Ghanaian side” he said while complimenting Ghana’s Minister for Communications and Digitalisation for her leadership and commitment to the development of telecommunications.

Prof. Ezer Osei Yeboah Boateng, Deputy Director General for Technical Operations, NCA, presenting his remarks at the Launch

In his speech, the Deputy Director General for Technical Operations (DDG-TO) at the NCA,
Prof. Ezer Osei Yeboah-Boateng, stated that the initiative promotes collaboration, trade,
and tourism between the two countries by facilitating affordable roaming services.

He emphasized that this initiative serves as a model for other ECOWAS member states,
demonstrating the capacity for cooperation to create a more interconnected and prosperous region.


Following the formal declaration of the launch of the bilateral ECOWAS Roaming Initiative, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) underpinning the continued interaction between Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire was signed by Prof. Ezer Osei Yeboah-Boateng (DDG-TO,
NCA) and Ms. Namahoua Toure (Director General, ARTCI).

Prof. Ezer Osei Yeboah-Boateng and Ms. Namahoua Touré exchanging pleasantries after signing the Memorandum of Understanding

The event was attended by representatives from the MoCD, NCA, ARTCI, Ministry of
Communication and Digital Economy of Co te d’Ivoire, Vodafone Ghana, MTN Ghana and
West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA).

Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire are optimistic that the successful implementation of this phased
approach will incentivise other ECOWAS member states to commit to the ECOWAS
Roaming Initiative thereby fostering regional connectivity, trade and tourism in West

NCA also expressed its appreciation to the MoCD for its support and direction and all MNOs in Ghana for their efforts and dedication so far towards the project.

The NCA said its doors are widely open to further collaboration with other member states and is hopeful that more bilateral agreements will be reached with other ECOWAS member
states for the benefit of the Ghanaian populace.

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