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The Central African Republic has received the support of the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the development of fiber-optic.

The Central African Minister of Economy, Planning and International Cooperation, Félix Moloua, and the Director General for Central Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office of the AfDB, Ousmane Doré, recently signed three grant agreements FCFA 22,107 billion ($39 million) to finance the fiber-optic backbone project for Central Africa – CAF component.

Two grants are funded from the African Development Fund and from the Transition Support Fund while the third grant takes the form of aid from the European Union’s Africa Investment Facility.

The AfDB will serve as project administrator. Read more: Technology could advance Côte d’Ivoire, says World Bank

The Central African Republic’s 2016 National Recovery and Peace building Plan recognises ICT as a principle source of growth and job creation; this project will therefore contribute to the country’s transformation resulting from the various anticipated project outcomes and they include;

  • The installation of over 1,000 kilometres of fiber-optic cable to connect with Cameroon and Congo;
  • The creation of a national data centre coupled and an electronic management platform;
  • The operation of 20 digital community centres, and a digital training centre;
  • And the creation of a business incubator at the University of Bangui.
  • The project should also help build the capacity of the principal national stakeholders, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, Regulator, and so on.

Digital economy

The project aligns well with the Bank’s High 5s, especially with the Integrate Africa priority.

It will help to open the Central African Republic digitally and integrate it into the sub-region. Helping the country to engage in the digital economy will boost growth, in particular through substantial increases in tax revenues from 10.2% in 2017 to 15% in 2021.

In addition, the project will help improve the quality of services and reduce the costs of economic transactions with internet penetration of at least 20% by 2021.

Doré emphasised that the Bank and the European Union have been working since 2016 to provide the Central African Republic with major financing and pointed out that co-financing with the Africa Investment Facility was the first in the ICT sector in Africa.