The telecommunications policy process in post-conflict developing countries: the case of Liberia
Best, Michael L.
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to develop an understanding of the telecommunications policy process in immediate post-conflict countries and how that process differs from traditional settings. Design/methodology/approach – The authors consider the case of Liberia, a country that recently emerged from a protracted civil war. The authors focus on the Liberian Telecommunications Act of 2007 and the processes through which this act came about by applying a modified research framework. This framework identifies several factors in the literature that are posited to influence the policymaking process in developing countries. The authors also include other factors based on previous studies in post-conflict countries. The aim is to test the usefulness of this framework using the 2007 act. The authors apply it through the use of interviews with key actors in the government, industry, and international agencies. This was supplemented by secondary data from published reports and other sources. Findings – From the framework the authors identify the main factors influencing the telecoms policy making process in Liberia such as a weak and nascent institutional environment, intra-governmental competition, limited human and technical resources, the supportive (especially initially) role of the international actors such as the World Bank, and the dominance of elite groups in decision-making. The authors then make suggestions on overcoming some of existing challenges to the sector. Originality/value – This paper looks at the intersection of research in telecommunications policy, policy processes and post-conflict countries, an area in which there is currently very little work. The results indicate that several dimensions of the framework are germane to the post-conflict case and that some of these observations are also relevant to the future development of telecommunications in these countries.