Gambia cracks down on ‘illegal’ VoIP services

Gambia’s natural communication has always been  the Gambia river. Messages, information and goods had been always delivered through ferries.

The country has faced a lot of changes in communications lately. The telecom industry has grown exponentially, and the adoption of internet, smartphones and data plans has more than doubled since two years ago.

This may be the reason why VoIP services like Skype and dating websites are the target of a government crackdown in Gambia. They have been deemed a threat to national mobile operators and telecom firms.

The country’s telecommunications watchdog, ‘Public Utilities Regulatory Authority’ (PURA), has issued a press release prohibiting companies and/or individuals operating through Internet Cafes and offering Dating services and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services as a commercially available service to the public in The Gambia.

The comments are not without parallels. Fellow Africa country Ethiopia outlawed Skype and VoIP services last year, a move thought to have been made to protect local operators, while Saudi Arabia banned VoIP services on account of national security. These cases are in contrast with Kenya, which according with Bloomberg, has the world largest mobile pay network.

Now, you may be guessing about the correlation with this news and the “Improving the community gardens of the Upper River Region” project.

The fact is that in Worldcoo we believe that access to information is a key factor to accomplish development. It’s within our nature, we need internet information to communicate how the projects are changing local realities. We also need internet, data and transparency to track all the money we sent to the NGOs, and to show the results in this blog. That’s why we are so concerned about this Gambia’s goverment action.

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