The World Bank has announced a new USD58 million loan facility for Gabon, to finance nationwide broadband connections to the new Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) international undersea fibre-optic cable, via fibre links from the country’s ACE landing station at Libreville to Port Gentil, Franceville, Lekoni, Koulamoutou as well as to the Congolese border. The loan has been agreed as part of the Central African Backbone Programme (CAB), and the project also forms part of the World Bank’s contribution in Gabon to implementing the third pillar of the 2010-2015 Economic Community of Central African States (CEMAC) Regional Economic Programme. Zouera Youssoufou, World Bank country manager for Gabon, announced the loan as the first element of the recently approved Country Partnership Strategy for Gabon, a USD250 million programme approved by the World Bank’s Executive Board in April 2012. The ACE cable, connecting around 20 African countries, is expected to be ready-for-service in Q4 2012, and the Gabonese authorities have ruled that access to the high speed broadband system will be made available to all telecoms operators in the country, says TeleGeography.
Elsewhere, Gabon’s Agency for the Regulation of Electronic Communications and Postal Services announced that the country’s fixed telephone numbering system will shift from six to eight digits by adding the prefix 01, from 16 June 2012; callers from abroad will no longer need to dial 0 after the 241 country code.