OUTFITS: NARROWLY TAILORED LAWS THAT HARM INSTEAD OF HELP
Telecommunications represents an expanding and potentially dynamic sector, with significant positive implications for economic growth and employment creation across the African continent. In particular, the legal framework for attracting foreign investment is crucial in terms of maximizing the expected benefits for a given African economy. A particularly important aspect is the set of laws governing the operation of telecommunications.
Gitau (this volume) provides a case study of Liberia’s telecommunications to demonstrate how the laws governing the sector’s operation may have been detrimental to local actors. For example, these laws have tended to: (1) delegitimize the informal economy and, thus, hurt the country’s development goals; (2) preserve rather than reduce the monopolistic tendencies of Liberia’s telecommunications sector; and (3) harbour provisions that avail unnecessary discretion in the application of laws that can be abused to the detriment of domestic agents. As heretofore observed, providing an attractive environment for ICTs constitutes an important policy imperative. Nonetheless, consistent with Gitau’s findings, caution must be exercised by the institutional reformers, in order to avoid these potential pitfalls in their quest to draft laws governing the sector.