China grants 49.5 billion FCFA to Niger for telecoms services [Pan African News Agency]
(Pan African News Agency Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Niamey, Niger (PANA) - China is to make 49.5 billion CFA francs available to Niger to finance the construction of fiber optic and other telecommunications services in the West African country, according to an agreement signed here Monday between officials of the two countries.
Niger was represented at the ceremony by its Minister of State for Planning, Regional Development and Community Development, Amadou Boubacar Cissé, while the Chinese ambassador to Niger, Shi Hu, signed for his country.
Under the agreement, the grant will support efforts by the government of Niger to develop its telecommunications services under its national Economic and Social Development Plan (PDES) from 2012 to 2015.
It provides for the extension of Niger's national telecommunications backbone project through the fiber optic facility which will connect Niger to international gateway.
Through the project, the Niger telecommunications provider, SONITEL, will be able to enhance the quality of its bandwidth across all areas where the system will be implemented.
The project is also expected to contribute to job creation and boost quality employment in a labour-intensive activity during the construction of the network.
According to Chinese diplomat, the implementation of telecommunications projects in Niger has been slow, as only 418 kilometres of fiber optic have been laid especially in the outskirts of the capital city, Niamey.
"Currently, telecommunications providers are offering services via microwave stations or through satellite lease arrangement, thus making services offered to be costly. This is restricting rural areas from benefitting from these facilities," he said.
He also explained that the new project will be made up of 100 stations, running on CDMA/EV-DO technology, including 2.275 km fiber-optic backbone and some 50,000 ADSL lines in the same network bandwidth.
"Once implemented, the project will enable Niger to achieve maximum broadband connectivity and therefore giving impetus to national economy," the Chinese diplomat said.
-0- PANA SA/JSG/TWA/VAO 16Dec2013
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