London — What was once Africa's slowest cross-border project is finally beginning to gather some pace. If recent announcements by politicians turn into reality, there could soon be a new fibre link in place to the Central African Republic. Russell Southwood looks at what might be about to happen.
Near the end of March Congo-Brazzaville President Denis Sassou Nguesso met the Central African Minister of Posts and Telecommunication Justin Sirnasakou , in Brazzaville. Congo-Brazzaville has become the most active partner in this sub-regional fibre project.
Justin Sirnasakou was Central African President Faustin Archange Touadera's special envoy to present to Congo-Brazzaville's President the fiber interconnection works that the Congo-B will complete in Central African Republic between the village of Bomassa in Congo and the village of Salo in the Central African Republic.
Congo-Brazzaville will be responsible for the civil engineering works and the installation of fiber optic infrastructures, and will be reimbursed later by development partners involved in the fiber optic interconnection of the African sub-region. The link will give Central African Republic an international fibre connection out via Pointe Noir on to the WACS cable.
Finance for the project has been provided by the African Development Bank (AfDB). According to its project document for this CAR element of the project:"CAR is faced with complex situations of fragility, the main drivers of which are chronic instability in the East of the country, spatial exclusion of chiefly rural areas located in the country's interior, gender inequalities, low access to basic services, intercommunity divides, climate change impacts and food insecurity, extreme poverty, the high rate of unemployment, especially youth unemployment".
"As a key component of development, broadband connectivity and ICT development should have impacts that are likely to contribute to the reduction of fragility and to building the country's resilience".
According to CIO magazine's correspondent Pross Ferdy:"The Republic of Congo is highly focused on the development of the digital economy, a sector in perpetual change, which offers users development opportunities through the creation of new products that meet the expectations of its citizens".
"Digital has completely changed the habits of Congolese, who using more and more these technologies and apps (video calls, social networks, search for information online ...) via mobile networks".