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DRC unveils AfDB-backed 600KM Fibre Optic Cable project worth €66.55 Million

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has launched a €66.55 million fibre optic cable project, a significant leap towards enhancing its digital infrastructure.

Funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the initiative boost the country’s ambition to become a digital hub in Central Africa.

The project includes constructing a state-of-the-art National Data Centre in Brazzaville and laying 600 kilometers of fibre optic cable to interconnect with Cameroon and the Central African Republic.

The AfDB is contributing €52.47 million, with the Congolese government providing the remaining €14.50 million.

Michel Ngakala, coordinator of the Central Africa Fibre-Optic Backbone project, emphasized the importance of this initiative for the DRC’s digital sovereignty.

This infrastructure will support local data hosting for public and private sectors, including telecom operators, banks, and insurance companies.

In a related development, Nigeria has announced an expansive plan to enhance its fibre optic network. Following a Federal Executive Council meeting, the country secured approvals to establish a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for deploying an additional 90,000 kilometers of fibre optic cable.

This project will expand Nigeria’s existing 35,000 kilometers of connectivity infrastructure to a total of 125,000 kilometers.

The SPV will be modeled on successful Public-Private Partnerships like the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG). By leveraging both government and private sector resources, Nigeria aims to create Africa’s third-longest terrestrial fibre optic backbone.

The Nigerian initiative seeks to optimize the capacity of the country’s eight submarine cables, currently underutilized at 10%.

By connecting over 200,000 educational, healthcare, and social institutions, this expansion will address the significant non-consumption gap and increase internet penetration above 70%. The cost of internet access is expected to drop by over 60%, bringing millions more Nigerians online.

Optics: The DRC and Nigeria are taking significant steps to enhance their digital infrastructures, promising to transform their economies and societies.

The DRC’s AfDB-backed fibre optic project and Nigeria’s ambitious expansion plan reflect a broader trend towards improved digital connectivity in Africa, setting the stage for substantial economic growth and development in the region.