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Construction begins on Burkina Faso's US$180m fibre optic backbone

Construction begins on Burkina Faso's US0m fibre optic backbone

The President of Burkina Faso Roch Marc Christian Kaboré has given the go-ahead on the construction of the first phase of Burkina Faso's 2,001km-long national fibre optic backbone.

The project, undertaken by multinational ICT firm Huawei has begun in Gaoua, in the region of Bafuji.

"The government is firmly committed to ensuring that our regions are interconnected, and our communities are interconnected," said Kaboré.

French engineering group Tactis is tasked with overseeing the progress of the project and confirmed that the first phase would be completed within a year.

The first phase is expected to cost 50 billion FCFA (about US$90 million) and will be financed through a 12-year loan facility, 60% of which was provided by the Bank of China with the remaining 40% provided by BNP-Paribas.

The loan includes a grace period of 3 years, which means the country has 15 years to repay its debt.

Hadja Fatimata Ouattara, the country's minister of the development of the digital economy and posts since February 2017, said the 2,001km national backbone will be added to the 307km run under the West Africa Interconnection Project, and the 650km of fibre established under the Government Cloud project.

On completion, Burkina Faso would have a total of 2,957 km of fibre optic infrastructure and thereafter, during the second phase, an additional 8,000km of fibre optic infrastructure will be deployed.

The national backbone project will connect the country's 45 provinces, as well as its major urban areas at an estimated cost of FCFA100 billion (about USD180 million).

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