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 African Development Bank, Ousmane Doré, signed three grant agreements in Busan, Korea, of FCFA 22,107 billion to finance the fiber-optic backbone project for Central Africa – CAF component.
Two grants are funded from the African Development Fund (FCFA 8.44 billion) and from the Transition Support Fund (FCFA 2,480 billion) while the third grant (FCFA 11,184 billion) takes the form of aid from the European Union’s Africa Investment Facility. The African Development Bank will serve as project administrator.
The Central African Republic’s 2016 National Recovery and Peace building Plan recognizes ICT as a principle source of growth and job creation; this project will therefore contribute to the country’s transformation thanks to the various anticipated project outcomes. These 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.
The project aligns well with the Bank’s High 5s, and 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.
Ousmane Doré emphasized 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.
Félix Moloua welcomed the grant agreements as contributions to the implementation of the National Recovery and Peace-building Plan, and paid tribute to the excellent cooperation between the African Bank Group, the European Union, and the Central African Republic.