World Bank Central Africa Backbone (CAB5) Project


The development objective of the Fifth Phase of the Central African Backbone (CAB5) Program Project for Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is to contribute to increase the geographical reach and usage of regional broadband infrastructure and to reduce the price of services to enable more people in the DRC to access information and communication technology services. The project comprises of three components:

  • The emergence of an inclusive digital economy will support THE Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications & New Technologies (MINPTNTIC) to enable and accelerate the emergence of an information society and the growth of digital economy by supporting information and communications technology (ICT) skills, create new business opportunity for local ICT firms, and promote ICT sector
  • The construction, management, and commercialization of the CAB5 infrastructure through a public private partnership (PPP) scheme will support Ministry of Portfolio (MINPORTFOLIO) to deploy interconnected networks to form a regional network with a mix of interventions covering investment focused on improving connectivity.
  • The enabling environment and regulatory effectiveness will support the regulatory authority (ARPTC) to reinforce and strengthen its regulatory tools and capacity to promote sector reform.

This project involves the roll out of a fiber optic backbone linked to regional network to improve quality and reduce costs of communications services. The project links the DRC to Rwanda and Burundi and to the East African countries networks and will offer redundancy loops for these networks with DRC and the countries in the region.

The project is split between three clusters as follows (estimates to be confirmed by surveys and Government decision):

  • Western Cluster – 727 kilometres;
  • Southern Cluster – 571 kilometres; and
  • Eastern Cluster – 1 520 kilometres.

The new ICT regulatory and legal framework has been produced and a consultant is being sourced to produce the technical specifications. The project will be implemented through Public Private Partnerships (PPP) as neither Government nor private operators on their own have the financial capacity to undertake the project. The PPP also aims to minimize costs to users by aggregating market players and maximize Government revenue through competitive bidding. The Government has established a special purpose entity to own the initial infrastructure (civils, cables, ducts) which it will procure and contribute and will then go to tender for one or more operator s to commercialize, operate and maintain.

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