The National Agency for Côte d'Ivoire's Universal Telecommunications and ICT (ANSUT) has secured a loan of FCAF71 billion (approximately US$130 million) from the French Development Agency (AFD) to complete the country's 7000km fibre optic network.
The loan agreement, valid for 20 years, is the culmination of an 18-month process and was signed in Abidjan by Bruno Leclerc, AFD director in Côte d'Ivoire, and Euloge Kipeya, Director General of ANSUT.
Leclerc said, "This is a non-sovereign loan, that is to say without state guarantee. It is granted to a company that is not the state. It is a way of working with a public company without putting the state into debt, a virtuous path that must be pursued. We are ready to continue with other public companies present in Côte d'Ivoire."
Côte d'Ivoire's fibre optic network project was launched in 2012. By the end of 2016, it reached 2000km and a year later neared the 5000km mark.
A total of FCFA 100 billion (over US$177 million) has already been spent on the project, raised from local commercial banks in 2015.
Kipeya said the latest financing would support the last phase of the project, expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
"This funding will enable us to complete the construction of 7,000 km of fiber optic that will mesh the entire national territory," he added.
ANSUT said the fibre optic infrastructure would be available for all operators "in a definitive way" by the end of 2018.