During the last two decades, ECOWAS countries have managed to implement an efficient
regulation that led to market liberalization, fast development of the mobile market and major
investment in regional and international capacity. As everywhere in the world, ECOWAS
countries are now facing the new challenges and market issues resulting from innovation
and rapid technological changes such as the rapid development of data and digital platforms,
the emergence of OTTs as disruptive innovative market players, and the operators’ revenue
shift with a significant decrease in voice revenues being only partially compensated by the
growth of data revenues, except for the operators that have implemented an aggressive 3G-
4G strategy. However, ECOWAS countries must face important issues resulting from the
lower level of revenues of the operators and the higher cost of overheads in the region
(national and international capacity costs, power, transport, etc.).
Indeed, there are still today strong challenges for the development of the digital economy in
ECOWAS. Broadband development is still far behind developed countries, digital dividends
have lagged behind, with a persistent digital divide across gender and geography (rural areas).
Many regulatory factors continue to hinder the uptake of broadband (quality of service,
licensing, spectrum allocation and assignment, taxation, liberalization and tariff related
issues), and a number of issues prevent countries from achieving a single telecoms market
(across countries) with seamless connectivity.

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