Ivory Coast builds 2 000 km fibre optic network

By Issa Sikiti da Silva 

A 2 000 km fibre optic network is currently under construction in Ivory Coast, 1 600km of which will connect western and north-western parts of the country and 600 km to interlink cities and towns located in the north-eastern regions.

This was revealed on Friday last week at a high-level ICT forum held in Abidjan, a meeting that brought together heavyweights of the ICT ministry, industry experts and business owners.

Eric Contayon, special adviser of the post and ICT minister, said the infrastructure will help increase ICT penetration, reduce the digital divide and improve internet access and connectivity, and therefore build 5 000 cyber centres throughout the country through a programme called ‘One Citizen, One Computer’.

Ivory Coast, a former economic powerhouse destroyed by political egos and power-thirsty leaders, is still recovering from a 2011 deadly post-electoral violence that killed over 5 000 people.

Nevertheless, the ICT sector contributes 6% to the country’s GDP, and has provided 100 000 direct and indirect jobs.

The government of Alassane Ouattara has promised to restore the country’s pride and build a strong knowledge-based economy.

On Friday, Contayon showcased the ICT ministry’s ambitious plans, saying it would consist of the launch in the near future of e-government, e-health, e-diplomacy, e-education and e-health programmes, among others.

Other projects include developing the national ICT expertise and increasing the fight against cyber-crime.

Ivory Coast is said to have become cyber-criminals’ easy target and headquarters of fraudsters and online thieves coming from all over the region.

Cybercriminals have stolen US$10 million in 2013, according to a report compiled by the Plateforme de Lutte contre la Cyber-Criminalité (PLCC), a unit of the country’s Forensic Police.

 

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