(Ecofin Agency) - The CAB project aims to interconnect the countries of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) with high-speed telecom infrastructure. The Central African Republic component provides for the connection of the Central African Republic with Cameroon and Congo.
The Central African component of the Central African Backbone (CAB-RCA) project is finally entering its operational phase. The infrastructure was officially handed over to the Central African government on Monday, January 7, in the presence of the partners. The 935-km-long infrastructure links the Central African Republic (CAR) to the Republic of Congo and Cameroon. After this handing-over phase, commercialization is expected to "shortly" begin.
"In September, an operator will come... The government will sign a public-private partnership agreement with another operator who will manage the infrastructure and sell fiber optic capacities to mobile operators like Orange, Telecel, and Socatel," said François-Xavier Decopo, coordinator of the CAR component.
The CAR component of the Central Africa Fibre-Optic Backbone Project, launched in 2019, is co-financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the European Union to the tune of XAF22 billion (US$35.9 million). The backbone project's steering committee adopted a XAF12.5 billion budget for 2022. The envelope was to finance the Congo-Central African Republic interconnection, among others.
The commercialization of the Central African component of the CAB project is expected to improve the coverage and quality of telecom services in the country. The government hopes that the project will increase tax revenues and reduce the cost of economic and social transactions. It is also expected to reduce the digital isolation of rural areas and improve regional integration.
"The country needs to be connected.[...] Our country is landlocked. It takes work, and trenches to get here. Now that it is done, we must leverage it to reduce the isolation handicap," said Faustin Archange Touadera (photo, left), President of the Central African Republic.
Isaac K. Kassouwi