DTT: How will Gabon fund its process?

By Issa Sikiti da Silva, Gabon

Dark clouds seem to be covering the process of digital migration in Gabon as the issue of funding appears to be on everyone’s lips, from broadcasters to the man on the street who are wondering if the country will meet the June 2015 deadline.

“In about six months’ time, the world of television will dramatically change, but most of us continue to ask ourselves if Gabon broadcasting will change along. It costs a lot of money to arrive there,” university student Pauline Ndong said.

“Does the state have enough money to be part of this change? I strongly believe it doesn’t. Is the process covered under dark clouds? I won’t hesitate to say yes,” a radio journalist said on condition of anonymity.

TV viewers and media practitioners’ fears appear to be justified as a high-level meeting that took place recently in the capital Libreville solely focused on the issue of funding. How to fund Gabon’s DTT project?

Gabon, like other African countries, is experiencing difficulties in accessing the much-needed funding for the implementation of DTT, Alex Bongo, director-general of the National Agency for Digital Infrastructures and Frequencies (ANINF), admitted.

The Gabonese population will benefit from the comfort and diversity of services offered by DTT and high-speed mobile internet, digital economy minister Pastor Ngoua Neme said.

However, Neme said that fulfilling that promise required substantial investments.

The meeting was graced by the presence of  World Bank representatives.

Gabon, which is seeking help wherever it can find it to ensure that it delivers digital content to its people on time, is said to have launched a desperate plea to both the World Bank and UNDP to help it.

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