EC Pumps ¬78 Million Into Africa for Tech Infrastructure

The European Commission has pumped ¬78 million (US$123 million) into the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa's (Comesa's) ICT and other infrastructure development.

The funding will support information and communication technology infrastructure development and other projects in the Comesa region, said Sindiso Ngwenya, Comesa assistant secretary general for programs.

The region has 21 member countries, including Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Kenya and Malawi, with a number of ICT infrastructure development projects under way. The Comtel project, for instance, will connect all 21 countries in the region with the aim of bringing down the high cost of telecommunication. The Comesa infrastructure fund is expected to play a key role in funding of cross-border projects such as the Comtel project, which will also hook the region to the rest of the world.

The Comtel project is a private regional telecommunication company being spearheaded by Comesa, a regional economic bloc based in Lusaka, Zambia. The project also aims to create a regional network and unify pricing for telecommunication services.

The project is being redesigned after member countries through their national telecommunication operators laid their own communication networks, including fiber-optic cables that will later be connected to the Comtel project.

"Besides information and communication technology infrastructures, the funds will also be used to fund electricity projects in the region," Ngwenya said.

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