Huawei to build Congo-Gabon network

By Issa Sikiti da Silva, Congo

Chinese telecommunication giant Huawei has won the contract to build a fibre optic network that will interconnect the oil-rich Central African nations of Congo Brazzaville and Gabon, a project set to cost about US$26 million.

The network will be made up of a single mode fibre with a type G655 along550 km from Congo’s landing station of Matoumbi up to Mbinda via Pointe-Noire, Dolisie, Makabana and Mosendjo.

The network will be armed with the OTN and WDM technology, and its construction is set to begin as early as next week, precisely on 22 December 2014.

If everything goes according to plan, the project, which forms part of the Central African Backbone (CAB), will last about one year and four months.

"We are hoping that the execution of this work will be done on time and to the highest quality," said Luc Missidimbazi, Congo CAB chief coordinator, said upon signing of the contract in the capital Brazzaville on Friday between the government and the Chinese company.

Huawei International was competing against five other global giants, Bouygues Energies and Service Congo, China International Communication Service (ISCC), CMEC, Infracom-Marais and Cofely InéoGde-Suez.

Many Chinese companies have won mega contracts worth billions of billions of US dollars in the past decade.

China, which remains Africa’s largest investor and commercial partner, has already invested more than US$200 billion in about 15 sectors, including oil and gas, telecommunications, mining, timber and agriculture.

Congo and Gabon’s investment in fibre optics also forms part of a plan intended at diversifying their economies, which rely heavily on oil and gas.

Many observers in the two capitals, Libreville and Brazzaville, strongly believe that the network will considerably improve their internet connections and reduces the prices of ICTs.

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