After investing over US $ 1 million in its DRC over the years, Bharti Airtel has announced plans to invest a further US $ 615 million in the country in the coming three years.
Airtel, the largest telecom network in DRC and whose premises were the first to be visited by Tryphon Kin-Kiey Mulumba, the country’s telecoms and ICT minister, as part of the newly appointed minister’s familiarization program to understand the realities that the telecom operators are dealing with in the country, has also expressed willingness to take up a 25 per cent in a new outfit expected to be set up to manage DRC’s national Optical Fiber.
With a population of over 71 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the nineteenth most populous nation in the world, the fourth most populous nation in Africa, as well as the most populous officially Franco country.
The high population is indicative of the fact that despite such significant investments by telecom operators, only 60 per cent of the Congolese population is covered by communication services, showing a lot of potential for further growth and investment.
“Our country is very large and the potential is huge. Airtel is a big company, and the investments made so far by Airtel in our country are amazing. We, as the Government, are under the obligation to make available the essential infrastructures to enable operators like Airtel and others to continue investing in our country and improve the national coverage,” said Mulumba in a media release.
He added that the government has already issued instructions for an immediate sale of the 3G license to telecom operators and completion of the Optical fiber landing station, adding that the Optical fiber question is a matter of priority for the government.