In Summary
  • Exclusion of Tanzania raises doubts about feasibility of proposal
  • Meeting in Nairobi last week, Information, Communication and Technology ministers from the four countries agreed to harmonise the different legislative frameworks guiding SIM registration in each country to spread the benefits of the exercise across the region.

Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan are working towards establishing a cross-border SIM card registration framework in a new effort to curb the rise in crimes perpetrated by the use of mobile devices.

Meeting in Nairobi last week, Information, Communication and Technology ministers from the four countries agreed to harmonise the different legislative frameworks guiding SIM registration in each country to spread the benefits of the exercise across the region.

A joint statement signed by Kenya’s ICT Secretary Fred Matiang’i, Uganda’s John Nasasira, Jean Philbert Nsengimana of Rwanda and South Sudan’s Rebecca Joshua Okwachi said the four governments would also interconnect national identification (ID) systems.

“SIM card registration is now a regional security issue and must be handled with the importance it deserves. A regional deadline for deactivation of all unregistered SIM cards will be set and strictly adhered to,” Mr Nasasira, who also chaired the meeting, said.

The interconnected national ID systems is meant to facilitate faster movement of people across the four countries, and at the same time ensure people moving from one country to another do not fake their nationalities and identities.

However, the absence of Tanzania in the meeting raises questions about the success of such an initiative given the borderless nature of technology.

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