Moov and Airtel partner to connect 200 underserved villages in Gabon

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February 26, 2024
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2 min read

The news: 

  • Telecommunications companies — Airtel Gabon and Moov Africa Gabon Telecom — plan to provide radio coverage to 200 Garbon villages in the white zones, areas uncovered by mobile telephone and Internet services. 
  • The development followed a meeting on February 16, 2024, between the heads of both telecom companies and Célestin Kadjidja, President of Gabon's Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Posts (Autorité de Régulation des Communications Électroniques et des Postes, or ARCEP).
  • The partnership is part of the second phase of ARCEP's Universal Service Development Project, which regulates telecommunications and postal services in Gabon.

The project's first phase, which included the installation of 18 radio stations that now provide mobile telephone and Internet services to 33 villages, ran from 2016 to 2018. 

Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema, Gabon's serving Transitional President, Chairman of the Committee for the Transition and Restoration of Institutions, and Commander-in-Chief of the Gabonese Republican Guard, has ordered the project's relaunch

Nguema directed the country's telco regulator to develop long-term strategies to promote digital inclusion. 

Per ARCEP’s estimation, about 1,253 villages, or about 6.5% of the country’s population, do not have access to mobile telephone and Internet coverage.

Data provided by ARCEP for the first quarter of 2023 puts Gabon’s penetration rate for mobile phones at 169% and Internet connectivity at 120.3%. However, given that many Gabon residents have multiple SIM cards, these numbers are projected to be lower. 

Moov Africa and Airtel’s plan to cover Gabon's white zones is expected to enhance access to mobile phone and Internet services for thousands of Gabonese. Telecom operators benefit from increasing their customer base, which leads to increased revenues.  

The Gabonese government has been championing digital transformation as the centre of its 10-year economic and social transformation. 

The World Bank announced on January 2, 2024, that it had signed a $68.5 million loan for the Digital Gabon Project to "accelerate the adoption of digitalised public services and increase the number of people with a unique ID that facilitates inclusive access to public services." 

The collaboration between the two telcos in Gabon advances the country's transformation goals. 

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