UNDP donates ICT equipment for DRC elections
By Issa Sikiti da Silva, in Kinshasa, DR Congo
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has donated ICT equipment to the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to support the electoral process in this war-hit Central African nation.
Local and parliamentarian elections in the DRC are due to take place next year, while the presidential elections are expected to be held in 2016.
The equipment includes 12 servers, 12 photocopy machines, 28 computers and various software. Other equipment includes generators, solar panels and vehicles.
The equipment has been purchased by the funds made available by the South Africa, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Japan, Spain, Sweden, and the International Organisation of the Francophonie.
At the handing over ceremony in the capital Kinshasa, UNDP country director Priya Gajraj urged the commission to use the equipment responsibly, and reassured the government of the UN’s further support in the country’s electoral process to consolidate peace and strengthen democracy.
Most African electoral bodies have turning to ICTs to help them carry out their mission in a fast and accurate manner to avoid controversy and post-electoral violence.
The DRC’s CENI, which has recently introduced the SMS technology, launched a tender to recruit a SMS technology supplier to educate voters, including sending bulk SMSes to subscribers of Vodacom, Airtel, Tigo, Orange and Africell.
The Commission said that the country’s strong mobile penetration has motivated it to turn to the SMS technology.