Togo to connect administrative buildings to fibre optic network
By Issa Sikiti da Silva
Almost all of Togo’s administrative buildings, most of which lack IT equipment and stable internet connections, are set to be connected to the country’s fibre optic network in the next 24 months.
The one-year e-government project will be made possible thanks to the loan of 13 billion FCFA (about US$25 million) provided by China through Exim Bank.
Togo President Faure Gnassingbe laid the first stone this week in the capital Lomé to mark the kick off of the project in the presence of China Ambassador to Togo Liu Yuxi and Huawei West Africa V-P.
Industry watchers said service delivery would considerably improve if the project is fully implemented.
Schools, immigration and customs offices, ministries, state-owned enterprises and agencies, among others, will see their data security enhanced and management of information digitised.
The government said the project would play a critical role in modernising the public administration and sharing information in real time with the population.
E-government is almost non-existent in Togo and very few people in this tiny West African nation still ignore the advantages of having such a system in place.
The Chinese ambassador said the fibre optic has the potential to improve internet connectivity and at the same time reduce the cost of communication, and speed up administrative procedures.
Togo minister of posts and digital economy Cina Lawson said this project will bring the public administration and citizens closer.
But some remain sceptical about the success of the project.
“If these offices will still have this internet connection that takes three minutes to show a homepage, then all of this is a waste of money,” an office administrator lamented in Lomé.
Togo’s high speed internet still disappoints despite the inauguration in May 2012 by President Gnassingbe of a US$650 million telecom station, just from where the WACS cable landed.