African National Regulatory Authority Benchmarking

Kerretts-Makau, Monica
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LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg
This paper provides an overview of the extent to which regulators are using websites to inform and communicate with the public – including consumers and citizens, the private sector, media and researchers and other governmental and nongovernmental organisations. The study follows a previous regional survey conducted in 2004, (Mahan 2004) that ranked the online component of information provision and facilitation of regulatory processes by National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) in the communications sector. 1 The benchmarking assessment documents the incidence of different aspects that are important for a regulator’s web presence across the categories of basic information and responsiveness, factual information about the national telecom sector, consumer and citizen information including universal service and complaints procedures, business-related information and forms, and information about the regulator and regulatory processes. A country’s inclusion in the assessment was contingent on the country having an independent authority 2 and the authority having a functioning website. Out of a total of54countries inAfrica,30had regulatory institutions that could be classified as independent with websites and 24 did not have websites. The countries were assessed by region (North, South, Central, East and West Africa, and Island countries). The benchmarking results show marked differences across countries and regions. Egypt received the highest score and performed well across all categories. The NRAs of Nigeria, Mauritius, Kenya andSouthAfrica were ranked in the top five. Following closely are Uganda,Algeria,Senegal and Tanzania. The top ten NRAs were considered to have had adequate content in support of users being informed and being able to participate in regulatory processes. Overall, the total African regional average was low, with a benchmark indicating that national regulatory authority websites hover between static and emerging levels of information provision. The analysis provides a summarised overview of the performance of African regulatory websites within the benchmarking criteria. It should be noted that this analysis does not judge websites by their look and feel; the main aim of the analysis rather focuses on the content that is provided and the ease of using or accessing the requisite information. It is hoped that this study will provide African regulators with an insight into what their users will most likely be looking for when searching through their websites. The study also highlights best practices that can be replicated.
National Regulatory Authorities, websites, benchmarking
Kerretts-Makau, M. (2008). African national regulatory authority benchmarking. The Southern African Journal of Information and Communication (SAJIC), 9, 68-84.