Central African Republic: CAR Internet Rollout Deferred Amid Conflict

Faustin-Archange Touadéra, President of the Central African Republic.

Bangui, Central African Republic — A network of organisations providing shared communications services in humanitarian emergencies requires over US$871 000 to roll out internet connectivity in the Central African Republic (CAR).

The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) has submitted the budget request to the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP).

ETC has prepared an expenditure plan for the US$160 000 received from the Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF).

"The demand for improved internet connectivity services is being taken into account in the ETC's 2021 work planning," the organisation stated.

However, due to the increase in armed conflict and attacks against humanitarian actors in CAR, the ETC is unable to resume missions until the security situation allows.

The general election, held on December 27, caused resurgence in violence and has forced more than 55 000 people to flee their homes.

Despite the volatility over the past year, ETC has made strides.

It finalised a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with United Nations partners- World Food Programme (WFP) and Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) - to set up internet connectivity services for humanitarians in Zemio.

In late November to early December, ETC delivered radio training in Birao for seven radio operators from the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilized Mission (MINUSCA).

The ETC team deployed to Bossangoa from 18-21 December to restore the radio channel used by humanitarians.

A Letter of Understanding (LoU) with implementing partners, INTERSOS, to complete the final phase of the planned phone booth project for affected communities in the Internally Displaced Persons camp in Bria has been finalised.

There are plans to empower affected communities to develop digital skills and help them to connect with humanitarians in Bangassou.

ETC also continues to support the reopening of the dedicated COVID-19 call centre in the capital Bangui.

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