China lends Benin $40m to densify its broadband infrastructure
China is lending the west African republic of Benin US$40 million to help fund a broadband project.
A concessional loan agreement for the implementation of the broadband project was signed by minister of foreign affairs Aurélien Agbénonci (pictured) and Peng Jingtao, Chinese ambassador to Benin.
According to Agbénonci, reported by the Ecofin news agency, the funds – 22 billion CFA francs – will be used to install 484km of fibre in four districts of Benin Mono, Zou, Collines and North Benin.
The money will also help fund a 204km metropolitan broadband network covering ten urban areas, including Route des pêches, a 40km trunk road connecting economic capital Cotonou to the city of Ouidah.
This is not the first collaboration between China and Benin to fund broadband projects. Six years ago China loaned $69 million at a preferential rate to fund a similar telecoms infrastructure project.
According to Beninsite.net, Benin’s president, Patrice Talon, began the broadband network densification project in May 2016 with the development of digital infrastructures with the assistance of Chinese skills.
“Its completion has enabled a complete transformation and improvement of the telecommunications network in Benin,” said Peng in the signing ceremony for the project, officially Projet de densification du réseau haut débit (PDRHD, broadband network densification project).
Peng said: “This second phase will facilitate access for network subscribers and the development of applications by improving and extending the reliability of the backbone and metropolitan network in large cities and the national coverage of the network will be significantly improved.”
The ambassador added: “The digital economy and digitization are experiencing more and more progress capable of making Benin the digital platform of the sub-region.”
Part of the money will be used to train Beninese engineers, said Peng. That will allow them “to continue the service after the withdrawal of the construction expertise”, said the ambassador.