CAB backbone project enters fourth phase

The fourth phase of the Central African Backbone Program Project (CAB4) to connect Gabon to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea was officially launched by Guy Bertrand Mapangou, Gabon's Minister of Communication and the Digital Economy, in Meyo-Kyé.

The project, backed by US$23 million in funding by the World Bank, was awarded to Korea Telecom (KT) and will be managed by the National Agency for Digital Infrastructure and Frequency (ANINF)

In April 2018, ITWeb Africa reported the completion of the interconnected fibre optic network linking Congo and Gabon.

The Gabon-Cameroon phase of the CAB project will pass through border cities of Buea, Lalara, Mitzic, Oyem, Bitam, Meyo-Kyé, Oyane and Lambarene.

All cities will have a technical centre established through which private operators, including telecom operators, ISPs banks and the government, will be able to connect.

"This will result in the delivery of services to the populations and businesses of these localities at very low costs with an optimal quality of service. This project will bridge the digital divide in the country," said Minister Mapangou.

CAB4 is in line with the overarching goal of the entire CAB project which is to lower the cost of using fibre optic infrastructure in the region, while also promoting regional integration.

Under the initiative, the eleven countries that make up the African Central Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) will be digitally connected with funding from the respective governments of member countries, the World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB).

Member states include Chad and Central African Republic (CAB1), Sao Tome and Principe (CAB2), Republic of Congo (CAB3), Gabon (CAB4) and Democratic Republic of Congo (CAB5).

Speaking at the launch of the Gabon-Congo interconnection, Elisabeth Huybens, Country Director, Africa at the World Bank said the step taken is a decisive one towards achieving digital integration in the region.

"It would help diversify their economies, create jobs and democratise the use of information and communication technologies and services in the sub-region."

With the interconnection of Gabon's network to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea underway, the regional interconnections are expected to be completed by 2020.