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Regulation in times of pandemic and lessons for the future: African responses – West Africa
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected different countries at different paces, forcing industry players and regulators, along with governments, to take action to support national strategies aimed at guaranteeing continuity of essential services, protecting lives and reducing the negative impact on the economy.
Regulators have taken a number of steps so that the continuity of services can be guaranteed – how might these actions inform and facilitate future modernisation of current regulatory frameworks? Will industry obligations continue? What does the ‘new normal’ look like from a policy, regulatory and commercial perspective?
Continuing this series of regional discussions, regulators and industry policy makers from Western Africa discussed the initiatives taken in response to the pandemic, particularly relating to spectrum availability, digital infrastructure, health & education services, cybersecurity, and combating disinformation. They highlighted the unique challenges across the continent and also innovative responses – particularly involving mobile technology – developed in Africa for Africa.
Recording of the IIC Webinar: Regulation in times of pandemic & lessons for the future African responses – West Africa.
Written report of the IIC Webinar: Regulation in times of pandemic and lessons for the future: African responses - West AfricaDownload
Abayomi Adebanjo is the General Counsel, MainOne Cable Company, a leading provider of innovative telecom services and network solutions for businesses in West Africa. At MainOne, Mr Adebanjo is responsible for and oversees the transactional, corporate commercial, regulatory and compliance and company secretarial functions across the operational jurisdictions of MainOne. Prior to joining MainOne, Mr Adebanjo was Co-Head of the Financial Services Sector of the Firm of Jackson, Etti & Edu and headed the Banking & Finance Unit of the Firm and has considerable experience in advising financial Institutions, multi- lateral agencies and general corporates. Mr Adebanjohas been constantly nominated and ranked yearly in the “Rising Star” category by International Financial Legal Review from 2013 – 2019, has been recognised in the Leading Lawyer category by Chambers Global and recently won the African Legal Rising Star award at the 2018 African Law Digest Awards and Top 40 lawyers under 40 at the 2018 ESQ Awards. He is recognised as a renowned resource person having consistently contributed to journals on platforms such as Practical Law, Euromoney International Debt Capital Markets Handbook, Global Legal Insights among others. He has also facilitated several trainings for International Organisations, Financial Institutions and Training Organisations.
Mr Adebanjo has experience across a variety of sectors with particular emphasis on financial services, telecommunications, oil and gas and FMCG sectors. He also has broad experience in advising on general corporate law matters.
Mr Adebanjo holds an MBA from the Lagos Business School and has obtained several certifications from the London School of Economics, St Catherine College, Oxford and College of Law, England and Wales. He attended Obafemi Awolowo University and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2006.
George Sarpong heads the independent National Media Commission established under Ghana’s constitution to ensure free, responsible and pluralistic media. In this role, he leads efforts to set and monitor media professional standards and coordinates processes for the recruitment and appointment of Chief Executives and Governing Boards of the state-owned media in order to insulate them from governmental control. George additionally manages the Commission’s complaints and settlement process.
Trained originally as a lawyer and a journalist, Mr Sarpong’s expertise spans the broad fields of communications law, policy and regulation; development statistics; peace building and governance legislative drafting. He took part in writing a number of critical governance legislations in Ghana including most recently the Local Governance Act, (Act 963).
Mr Sarpong has taught part-time at the University of Ghana School of Communication Studies, Accra Technical University and the Ghana Institute of Journalism. He has also served on the boards of the National Communications Authority and the Allied Health Regulatory Council.
Mr Sarpong is a Reagan-Fascell Fellow of the National Endowment for Democracy, Washington DC.
Olusola Teniola is a techie turned business leader who has a proven track record in growing profitable revenue and PBIT. He is engaged in various telco related projects out of Lagos, Nigeria. He was very briefly the CEO of Phase3 Telecom based in Abuja before deciding to launch out on his own. Previously he was Client Partner to Detecon Consulting GmBH leading Nigeria and Ghana opportunities in Africa. Prior to that he was CEO of IS Internet Solutions (a Dimension Data & NTT company) based in Nigeria that is the largest provider of Internet value added services in Africa.
Prior to IS Internet Solutions, Mr Teniola has held a range of Senior Leadership and Management positions such as Chief Operating Officer of Phase 3 Telecom, Nigeria where he achieved 47% EBITDA and substantial sales and revenue growth. In addition to his telecom’s experience he has consulted on major projects for a range of clients including the international NGO, World Vision and UK charity, Diversity Hub.
Mr Teniola began his career developing a strong foundation in software engineering working with major global corporations such Vodafone, British Telecom and Nortel Networks. After several years as a software engineer and architect consultant, Mr Teniola moved to the commercial side of business and took on technical marketing and project management roles at Cisco Systems and Lucent technologies.
Mr Teniola is part of a high leverage network in Nigeria with strong connections with the Nigerian Regulatory Authority and the Ministry of Communications & Digital Economy. Alongside them, he is helping to pave the way to real change in Broadband and Telecoms in Nigeria, improving the lives of communities across the country.
He is the current President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), the National Coordinator for the Alliance for Affordable Internet (www.a4ai.org) and a member of the Institute of Directors (IoD) both in Nigeria and London.
Mr Teniola studied at the University of Bath gaining a Times Top 100 MBA. He also holds a BEng (Hons) in Computer and Information Engineering.
Patricia Obo-Nai was appointed Chief Executive of Vodafone Ghana in April 2019, having served in other Directorship roles in the company including Technology Director, Director for Fixed Business/Customer Operations and Acting Director for Consumer Business. Her vision as Technology Director led to Vodafone being ranked number 1 twice in voice clarity and 3G+ speed during an independent survey on network quality by P3 Research, based in Germany.
Ms Obo-Nai has over 25-years’ experience in telecommunications and represents one of the leading figures in Ghana’s telecom sector. She started her career as a Network Planning Engineer with Millicom Ghana Ltd (Tigo) before rising to become the first and only female Chief Technology Officer in the company. She was instrumental in the transformation of the Tigo network from analogue to digital whilst driving coverage extension.
As Director for Fixed Business and Customer Operations, her unabashed commitment to excellence, led to the introduction of Fibre-to-the-Home and Convergence/Content; leading to double digit growth in subscriber base and revenue. She also drove Frontline Empowerment, Ask-Once and other CARE initiatives whilst serving in this role.
Ms Obo-Nai’s commitment to female empowerment and Diversity & Inclusion, are a key definition of her leadership outlook and strength. During her tenure as Technology Director, she led in the setting up of the ‘Women in Technology’ platform, which focused on supporting and mentoring young ladies at the Ghana Street Girls Aid – an NGO that provides refuge and vocational training for young homeless girls. She was also instrumental in the setting up of the Female Engineering Students Sponsorship Programme (FESSP) by Vodafone to encourage and nurture young ladies to pursue careers in STEM related programmes. These interventions have resulted in a record number of females in the Technology function – resulting in high productivity and efficiency.
Ms Obo-Nai is also a member of the Executive Women Network – a network of women leaders who provide mentorship and support for other women whilst driving advocacy on diverse female related issues. She has won several awards including Best Female Technology Director at the Ghana Telecom Awards 2012, Distinguished Alumni from the College of Engineering at KNUST 2017, Women in Red from Vodafone 2018 and recently, Officer of the Presec-Odadee Torch 2019 for her outstanding contribution to her high school.
Ms Obo-Nai holds a BSc in Electrical/Electronic Engineering from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), an Executive MBA in Project Management from University of Ghana Business School and has executive education from Kellogg School of Management, London Business School, and INSEAD in France.
Professor Umar Garba Danbatta is Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the Agency charged with the responsibility of regulating telecommunications in Nigeria. He was the Vice President of the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), International Centre for Advance Communications Studies, established in 2004 by the NCCto build capacity for the Nigerian/Africa telecom industry in information and communications technology. While at DBI he developed expertise in the following major areas of ICT: implementation, policy and regulation.
Professor Danbatta served as a lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Technology of Bayero University Kano for 28 years, where he taught courses in telecommunications engineering and electronics and held academic positions of Dean of the Faculty and Head of Department at different times. He was also a member of over 60 University committees and task forces, including numerous stints as Chairman. In administrative and other responsibilities outside the university, he has served on over 20 committees, prominent among which was his Chairmanship of the Implementation Committee on Kano State University of Science & Technology, after which he became its pioneer Deputy and Acting Vice-Chancellor when it took off in 2001.
Professor Danbatta has to his credit more than 50 articles in journals, conference proceedings and technical reports. He is also the author of a book entitled ‘Elements of Static Engineering Electromagnetics’. A recipient of 18 distinguished awards and certificates of honour, Professor Danbatta has served two terms as a Member of Council of the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), and is also a COREN Registered Engineer and a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers. (NSE).
Prof Danbatta obtained his BEng, MSc degrees from the technical University of Wroclaw in Poland and his PhD from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) UK respectively.
Russell Southwood is the CEO of Balancing Act, a consultancy and research organization specializing in telecoms, Internet and media in Africa. Its clients include operators, investors and agencies doing policy and regulatory work. Most recently he was part of a World Bank team looking at the regulation of OTT and the digital economy in Africa and the Middle East. He is also author of Sub-Saharan Africa’s Digital Landscape and its Top 11 Markets – data prices, smartphones, digital content and services and e-commerce.
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