Our History

"...because the future depends on history"

Brief History
Why we exist
ATU at a Glance

Established on December 7th, 1999, the African Telecommunications Union is the leading continental organisation fostering the development of information and communication technologies infrastructure and services.
The mission of the Union is to promote the rapid development of info-communications in Africa in order to achieve universal access, and full inter-country connectivity. The Union envisions an Africa that is empowered as a full and active participant in the global information and knowledge society. Membership… ATU currently has 44 Member States and 16 Associate Members (comprising fixed and mobile telecom operators).

The mission of the Union is to promote the rapid development of info-communications in Africa in order to achieve universal access, and full inter-country connectivity. The Union envisions an Africa that is empowered as a full and active participant in the global information and knowledge society.

Founded in 1977 as a specialised agency of the Organisation of African Unity, now African Union, in the field of telecommunications, the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) took its present name in 1999. This led to the transformation of the agency into a partnership between public and private stakeholders in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector. ATU provides a forum for stakeholders involved in ICT to formulate effective policies and strategies aimed at improving access to information infrastructure and services. In addition, the Union represents the interests of its members at global decision-making conferences and promotes initiatives aimed at integrating regional markets, attracting investment into ICT infrastructure, and building institutional and human capacity.

Our Mission



Engaged and credible institution promoting rapid ICT development in Africa through 13 well defined objectives


a)    To promote the development and adoption of appropriate African telecommunications/ICTs policy and regulatory frameworks;
b)    To promote the financing and funding of telecommunications/ICTs development;
c)    To promote programmes for the development of the African Information Society;
d)    To prepare and execute special programmes for Africa’s Least Developed Countries (LDC’s) and rural telecommunications/ICTs development;
e)    To promote human resources development in the field of info-communications;
f)    To promote the establishment of info-communications industries;
g)    To co-ordinate the strategies and positions of Member States in preparation for and at international meetings;
h)    To promote regional co-ordination in areas of projects, value-added services, equipment certification, technical standards and harmonization of tariffs;
i)    To harmonize the actions of Member States and Associate Members in the telecommunications/ICTs sector;
j)    To foster co-operation and partnership between and among Member States and Associate Members.
k)    To promote and encourage the exchange of information, expertise and technology relating to info-communications for the benefit of all Member States and Associate Members;
l)    To undertake studies in the field of info-communications for the benefit of Member States and Associate Members;
m)    To undertake all such activities not defined above which may assist in achieving the vision and mission of the Union.

To promote the rapid development of the ICTs in Africa in order to achieve universal service and access to broadband.

An engaged, stable and credible institution that facilitates Africa’s participation in the global information society thereby fostering development in Africa.






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Core Programmes
  • Contributing to global decision-making

  • Integrating regional markets

  • Attracting investment into ICT infrastructure

  • Building human and institutional capacity

  • Global decision making

  • Human a institutional capacity

  • ICT infrastructure

  • Integrating regional markets


Four Permanent Organs

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The Conference of Plenipotentiaries
The Administrative Council

The Council is, between the sessions of the Conference be the decision-making body of the Union within the limits of the powers delegated to it by the Conference. The “Council” shall consist of Member States, elected for a four-year term by the Conference, having due regard to the equitable distribution of seats among the sub-regions of Africa as defined by AU. Council meets at least once per year.​

Referred to as “the Conference” is the supreme organ of the Union convened in Ordinary Session every four (4) years. The conference, among other things, revises the ATU Constitution/Convention as it deems necessary, determines the general policy and objectives of the Union including approving its four-year strategic plans, adopts the principle of contribution to the budget of the Union, elects the Members of the Council, elects the Secretary General, ratifies MoUs and other agreements, determine the staff establishment of the Union and associated conditions of service. ​

The Technical and Development Conference

Technical and Development Conference is the organ for the technical matters of the Union: radiocommunication, telecommunication standardization and telecommunications/ICTs development matters.​

The General Secretariat 

General Secretariat is the management of the day-to-day activities of the Union. It is headed by the Secretary General elected by the Conference for a four-year term and is eligible for re-election once only. Currently, the General Secretariat is based in Nairobi (Kenya).​






"...because failure to plan is planning to fail"

Institutional Capacity & Strategic Partnership
Creating Enabling environment
  1. An enabling ICT policies and regulatory frameworks

  2. Bridging the digital divide in Africa

  3. Promote prudent spectrum management

  4. Coordinate an African Common voice at international ICT forums 

  1. An engaged and expanding active membership of ATU

  2. Robust and financially stable ATU

  3. A credible regional institution creating value to the region

  4. Strategic partnerships development

Innovation and Talent Development
  1. Promotion of talent and innovations in ICT

  2. e-skilling programs to grow the ICT human resource base

Infrastructure Development
  1. Development of broadband infrastructure and achievement of regional interconnectivity

  2. Development of  appropriate infrastructure to achieve rural connectivity and universal access

  3. Transition to digital broadcasting

  1. Promote safe use of Internet 

  2. promote development of content delivery networks

  3. Development of a content development strategy 

  4. Provide an ecosystem for rapid application development 

Content and Applications



"...because its actually people who do things"

Mr Abdoulkarim Soumaïla

Secretary General

Kezias MWALE

Radiocommunications Coordinator




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The Constitution and Convention
The Headquarters Host Agreement

An agreement, entered into on 17th September 1999, between the Government of Kenya and ATU relating to the hosting of the ATU headquarters in Nairobi (Kenya)​. It sets forth the rights, privileges and obligations of the two said parties.

The supreme document of ATU: it sets forth, among other matters, the establishment of the union, objectives of the union, composition of the union (membership), rules of procedure of the union, relations between the union and the African Union (au) as well as other international organizations, privileges and obligations of membership. The ruling version is ATU Constitution and Convention Cape Town 1999 (Rev. Harare 2014).​

Sets forth the fundamental conditions of service, rights, privileges and special privileges, immunities as well as duties and obligations of the staff members and set out the broad administrative principles applicable to the staff and which the later must observe. The ruling version is Cape Town, December 1999 (Rev. June 2008 Yaoundé).

The Staff Rules and Regulations


African Telecommunications Union

C/O Communications Authority of Kenya
P.O. Box 35282 - 00200
Waiyaki Way, Nairobi (KENYA)
tel: +254 72 220 3132

office location

Monday - Friday

09.00 - 16.00

(except during public holidays)

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