Six Central African countries to abolish roaming charges

Developing Telecoms | It’s been a long time coming but it looks as though free roaming across six Central African countries – for nationals of those countries – is going to be a reality from the start of 2021 with the formal adoption of the measure by the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC).

CEMAC is made up of six countries: Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Chad, Equatorial Guinea and the Central African Republic. It was established in 1994. Its aim is to promote economic integration among countries that share a common currency – the CFA franc. The presidency of CEMAC rotates each year and is held by a head of state.

The community regulation on free roaming between CEMAC countries had already been adopted in principle on 28 February this year in Douala, the economic capital of Cameroon.

The measure was formally adopted this month. From the start of next year, when traveling in the CEMAC area, nationals of countries in this community area will have access to mobile services (calls, SMS and internet) on their own phones at no additional cost.

But this deadline is still a few months off and, until then, a Cameroonian in roaming mode in Gabon, for example, will still have to pay hefty roaming charges for receiving a one-minute phone call. By contrast the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), agreed to remove roaming fees for its 15 members back in 2017.

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