BISSAU (Reuters) – Guinea Bissau has agreed a memorandum of understanding with the World Bank, Orange and MTN for a $47 million project to link the country to a submarine telecoms cable connecting Africa with Europe, the government said on Wednesday.
Under the agreement, French telecoms company Orange and South Africa’s MTN Group will form a consortium with the government of the West African country, the statement by the finance and transport ministries said.
“The World Bank unlocks $31.596 million in the form of a loan to connect Bissau to the international fibre optic cable,” said the finance and transport ministries in a joint statement.
Guinea Bissau will be hooking up to the ACE (Africa Coast Europe) cable, the statement said, one of five linking countries in West Africa to Europe. Guinea Bissau will the be last coastal country in the region to link to a submarine cable.
Orange and MTN will provide about $8 million each over a five-year period, the statement said.
The project is due to be completed in 18 months and officials said it would improve internet speeds and reduce communication costs in the poor, Portuguese-speaking country.
Only 3.8 percent of individuals in the country of 1.8 million are internet users, according to the U.N.’s International Telecommunication Union.
(Reporting by Alberto Dabo; writing by Emma Farge; editing by David Clarke)