It is now official. The African Union (UA) has entrusted the Republic of Congo with the management of the Internet node of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). It was in the framework of an agreement signed on 19 May 2017 between the Republic of Congo represented by the Director General of the Postal and Electronic Communications Regulatory Agency (Arpce) Yves Castanou and Moses Bayingana, AU. Specifically, this agreement foresees the transformation of the Congolese Internet Exchange Point (CGIX) into a regional Internet node of the ECCAS countries.
According to Yves Castanou, this agreement represents an important step for the development of the Congolese digital economy, but also for the transformation of the Congo into a sub-regional hub for ICT: “It is an excellent day for us because it is the result of much effort. Everything we have done since 2013 is bearing fruit at the continental level, particularly in the AU. It is important that our exchange point becomes a regional exchange point. Companies, universities and other institutions in the subregion will connect to the Internet node of the Congo and inter-change … Our sub-regional exchange point will connect with other regional points in North Africa, The East, West and South. The conditions of the AU are draconian with the requirements that the Arpce is following to ensure that our country becomes the Internet hub of Central Africa, “says the Director General of Arpce quoted by china.org.
Under the terms of the agreement, Congo will receive, via Arpce, financial support from the AU for 150,000 dollars, more than 75 million CFA francs, to support the action plan of the Central African Internet Exchange Point. In the long term, this plan should enable the country to improve the quality of the Internet service, but also to reduce the costs currently charged by operators.
It should be noted that, apart from the Republic of Congo, the African Union also supports other African countries (Gabon, for example) as part of its initiative to set up an African Internet Exchange System (Axis) Which provides for the installation of 33 Internet exchange points on the continent.