Completion of ICT capacity-building programme in Kosovo

By Axel  Reiserer

Completion of ICT capacity-building programme in Kosovo

EBRD and local regulator ARKEP joining forces in development of ICT sector

The completion of a successful joint programme was marked at an event in Pristina today, when the Regulatory Authority for Electronic and Postal Communications (ARKEP) in Kosovo and the EBRD announced the results of their capacity-building programme for the information and communication technology (ICT) sector in Kosovo.

The programme took place from September to November 2017 and provided training and support to adapt to regulatory developments in the dynamic and growing sector of telecommunications, internet and broadband networks and services.

Kreshnik Gashi, Chairman of ARKEP, summarised: “The programme was planned by ARKEP in cooperation with the EBRD, recognising the increasing importance that the ICT sector has for Kosovo. Building a knowledge-based economy is clearly the way forward. For this we need innovation and investment, but also a strong regulatory environment.”

Paul Moffatt, Senior Counsel, EBRD, paid tribute to the cooperation with ARKEP in developing and implementing the capacity-building programme. Mr Moffatt added that “The EBRD is very pleased to contribute to the further development of the policy, legal and regulatory frameworks for ICT, as a means of attracting the necessary investment and enabling growth in the ICT sector, a vital part of Kosovo’s economic development.”

European experts invited by the EBRD led training sessions at ARKEP’s headquarters in Pristina. They also advised ARKEP experts on specific challenges facing the sector. Regulating electronic communications markets is a complex issue involving areas of law and policy, as well as technical, financial, economic and competition practices. Topics covered by the programme included ICT sector trends, markets and competition, spectrum and numbering issues, technologies and convergence, consumer issues and overall regulatory effectiveness.

A total of 75 representatives from the Kosovo ICT sector participated in the training. One key lesson learned was the need to meet the demand for better services, particularly broadband connections with access to high-speed internet. Investment in high-capacity infrastructure is needed to satisfy these demands within an efficient policy, regulatory and competitive market framework. Key economic benefits can be won from greater regulatory efficiency and investment in the ICT sector in Kosovo.

The ICT capacity-building programme was supported by the Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Independent Media Commission, Kosovo Competition Authority and the electronic communications network and service providers in Kosovo.