Abidjan – Côte d’Ivoire, the victim of a jihadist attack in March 2016, has decided to reinforce the verification of the identity of mobile phone subscribers in order to “fight terrorism”, Ivorian authorities announced on Thursday in Abidjan.
A first phase “less binding on parts to provide” carried out in 2012 has registered nearly 30 million subscribers, announced the Ivorian telecommunications regulator (ARTCI).
“The Ivorian government has initiated this second phase in order to protect the subscribers, to ensure the security of the State and to fight effectively against terrorism and cybercrime”, declared the director the ARTCI, Bilé Diéméléou, during a press conference.
“All natural or legal persons have a period of six months from today to update their identification,” said a statement from the ARTCI.
“All these measures help to protect the subscriber in case of fraudulent infringement by means of a SIM card or an access device (box, wifi pocket, etc.) identified in his name “reassured Mr. Diéméléou.
“In case of non-identification within the deadline, the subscriber will see the suspension of the services (it will be put in simple reception). The definitive stop of the services will take place two months after the date of suspension”, he warned.
The identification operation, which also concerns cybercafés owners, aims to combat cybercrime in Côte d’Ivoire, known for the skill of its “young scammers” on the Internet, called “browsers”.
Mobile telephony accounts for 8% of Côte d’Ivoire’s GDP and the sector is one of the biggest employers in the country. The daily volume of money transactions via mobile telephones (payments or transfers of money) in Côte d’Ivoire is 15 billion CFA francs (nearly 23 million euros).
The number of mobile subscribers increased from 16 million to 30 million between 2012 and 2016. During this period, the number of subscribers to the Internet exploded from 200,000 to more than ten million, ‘ARTCI.
The Orange group, the South African MTN and the Ivorian-Saudi group Telecom Atlantic, are currently the three telephony operators on the Ivorian market.
Côte d’Ivoire experienced a jihadist attack on 13 March 2016, in the seaside town of Grand-Bassam, near Abidjan, which left 19 dead.