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Equatorial Guinea faces internet shutdown over unsettled bills

By , Freelance Investigative Journalist
Equatorial Guinea , 30 Aug 2022

Equatorial Guinea faces being disconnected if its government fails to settle payment for the use of international submarine fibre optic connectivity.

This month the country’s Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue warned delays in the transfer of payment to Gestor de Infraestructuras de Telecomunicaciones de Guinea Ecuatorial (GITGE) – the telco contracted to operate and maintain the country’s telecommunications infrastructure - could leave the country without internet in two weeks.

Mangue did not specify the total sum outstanding.

The VP also tweeted that the payment via the Bank of Central African States (BEAC), of which Equatorial Guinea is an affiliate, is yet to be authorised by the Bank of France.

The management of BEAC’s international reserves is governed by monetary cooperation agreements with France, represented by the Bank of France.

According to Mangue, France’s central bank imposes monetary policies on BEAC which slow down development within the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) which comprises Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.

BEAC and the Bank of France did not readily respond to a request for comment.

Equatorial Guinea is connected to only one international submarine cable system - the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) which runs from the coast of South Africa, with several IXPs en route to France.

According to Datareportal, there are 374,000 internet users in Equatorial Guinea and as of January 2021, the country recorded an internet penetration rate of 26.2%.

Mangue said the Prime Minister has been ordered to establish a commission to “provide immediate solutions to this problem.”

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