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COVID-19 delays CAR-Cameroon fibre interconnection

The Central African Republic (CAR) will be connected via a fibre optic network with Cameroon by the end of July 2021.

This is according to CAR’s Minister of Posts and Telecommunications Justin Gourna Zacko, who said the while the project was originally scheduled to begin immediately after its official launch in October 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in delay.

According to official figures CAR has recorded almost 5,000 cases, with 63 deaths.

The connectivity project is expected to cover 1 100km between Bangui and Gamboula. To date, only 200km has been completed.

Addressing the media in Bangui, Minister Zacko said administrative red tape exacerbated by the pandemic had hampered progress of the project, but measures are being taken to minimise further delay.

He also assured the general public and stakeholders that the country’s forthcoming elections, scheduled to last until March 2021, will not impact the project.

The interconnection project is a component of the €33-million national fibre optic network, co-financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the European Union (EU).

In a statement, AfDB said its overall objective with the network is to help diversify the Central African Republic’s economy.

“More specifically, it will lead to an increase in tax revenue and a reduction in the cost of economic and social transactions, digital opening access for rural areas coupled with regional integration through the establishment of fibre-optic infrastructure that will facilitate access to the neighbouring countries and renewal of the social contract through the creation of job opportunities for young people in particular,” the organisation stated.

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