DRC: Underserved Areas Await State Investment in Telecommunications

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Only a quarter of the Congolese territory is covered by modern technologies, despite the state receiving significant telecom contributions for underserved areas over the past 22 years.

The Universal Service Fund is financed by 3% of the revenue of each telecommunications company in the DRC. When the levy was introduced in 2002, it was only 2%, but it has been revised to 3% for the past decade.

However, to address the economic crisis in 2008, the government decided to channel the funds collected, amounting to millions of dollars, into the general Treasury account to contribute to the state budget. Consequently, the funds are no longer allocated to create infrastructure to enable telecoms to expand their coverage to underserved regions.

A Network in Need of Investment

With pressure from the World Bank, the government established the Universal Service Development Fund (USDF) in 2022 to manage these millions of dollars. A year later, administrators were appointed, but they lacked both offices and resources.

According to the latest World Bank report, the DRC has a low mobile phone subscription rate: 44.8% compared to the sub-Saharan Africa average of 92%. The mobile internet penetration rate is 22% compared to an average of 43%.

Soukaina Sghir

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