More than 2.5 million people in eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will have access to faster and more reliable digital connectivity, thanks to the new fibre-optic network investment by Bandwidth and Cloud Services Group (BCS). The project has been supported by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and falls under the EU’s Global Gateway program, which aims to provide sustainable and trusted connections with partner countries. The new infrastructure will enable high-speed internet coverage in homes, schools, and hospitals, providing access to digital services and information and contributing to the country’s digital transformation.
EIB’s quasi-equity investment of $10 million in BCS’s immediate funding needs will support the company’s fast and long-term growth. This funding follows a warrants agreement signed between BCS and EIB’s Global arm at the Kinshasa Economic Forum. BCS’s optic expansion plans involve building more than 20,000 kilometres of digital infrastructure, out of which 12,000 kilometres are in DRC, and will help the government connect over 1,900 schools, 1,640 public hospitals, and government institutions. In return, the government of DRC has agreed to waive the fibre licence fee per kilometre and provide rights of way on all public infrastructure, such as railroads, electricity poles, rivers, and lakes.
The investment by BCS will connect areas currently underserved by high-speed telecoms, improving access to the internet, which will unlock new opportunities for local entrepreneurs and support job creation. Direct telecom connections to 319 schools and 70 hospitals, and health centres will improve education and public health. The investment will also enable regions impacted by conflict to benefit from better mobile broadband coverage and reliable communication.
BCS Group has entered into a long-term funding partnership with EIB, which follows funding of $18 million in 2018. The investment will enable the construction of 1,200 kilometres of fibre and is part of the 20,000 kilometres that BCS plans to build in Southern, Central, and Eastern Africa over the next three years. The investment in the DRC is part of EIB’s commitment to accelerating digitalisation in the country and across Africa and the EU’s Global Gateway strategy to connect people in partner countries with trusted and sustainable infrastructure.