Speaking at the Great Rift Valley ICT Summit in Dar es Salaam, Sikuli-Kivuya Marie-Jaqueline Masika, general secretary in the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunication and ICT, said the DRC is planning to use ICT to trigger development.
Masika added that DRCs location can be leveraged to make the country the connecting hub for East, West, North and Southern Africa and is already taking advantage of the West African Cable System (WACS).
“We know that we are the heart of the continent and if we could exploit this we can one day become the interconnector of the various regions,” she said.
The country has long been affected by conflict, but Masika said as it rebuilds its short term targets will include the increase of internet access to the population to more than 5 per cent and the increment of mobile and telephone lines from the current 14 lines in 100 inhabitants to 40 lines in 100.
Masika said: “Our target is to have 33 million people connected to mobile and fixed telephony in our country in line with the region numbers where 30 inhabitants out of 100 have lines. The only difference here is that ours is much higher at a target of 40 per 100 inhabitants.”
To maximize from their geographic location, Sikuli said the DRC government is already in the process of building some 30,000km of fibre terrestrial cable in the country in a project that will be a public private partnership with mobile operators.
She noted that internet penetration remains a big challenge with the majority of people living in the rural areas and internet penetration less than 2 per cent - among the lowest globally.
At the same time just 20 per cent of the population have mobile phones far below the numbers in the central African region.