Major Projects Spurring on Telecom Growth

Léocadie Nihazi, Minister of Telecommunications, ICT and Parliament Relations, discusses recent developments in the telecom sector.

European Times: What are the main responsibilities of the Ministry of Telecommunications, ICT and Parliament Relations?

Léocadie Nihazi, Minister of Telecommunications, ICT and Parliament Relations
Léocadie Nihazi, Minister of Telecommunications, ICT and Parliament Relations

Léocadie Nihazi: This ministry has many responsibilities in ICT, media and relations with parliament sectors. The ministry is responsible for establishing and implementing ICT and media policies and for enhancing relations between government and parliament.

In order to achieve these responsibilities, the ministry’s office has two main general departments, one overseeing communication issues and the other one handling ICT issues. There are also under the ministry other departments such as Burundi’s National Radio and Television (RTNB), National Telecommunications Office (ONATEL), ICT Executive Secretariat (SETIC) and print medias operators (ABP, PPB, CIEP).

European Times: What are some of your recent projects?

Léocadie Nihazi: We are now focussing on important projects such as national fibre-optic cable project, Bujumbura broadband network project, migration from analogue to digital broadcasting project. The purpose of those two first projects is to increase internet access throughout the whole country, which is, of course, the key to support business and investment growth. For the implementation the government is financing around 65% of the fi bre-optic cable project. The fibre-optic project is around 55% completed at present.

Concerning the migration from analogue to digital, we are finishing a technical feasibility study and the implementation of a digital broadcasting network is planned to be finished by March 31st 2014.

European Times: How important is FDI from Europe to the development of the telecom sector?

Léocadie Nihazi: As you know, the EU and its member states are traditional partners of Burundi in many areas. European investors are very important in the ICT and broadcasting sectors. Burundi is now targeting EU markets and welcomes all investors who are interested in Burundi’s ICT and broadcasting market in the context of migration from analogue to digital broadcasting.

European Times: What is your personal message to potential investors?

Léocadie Nihazi: I would like to let all international investors know that Burundi is now peaceful, and the government is committed to go on with policy and legal reforms in order to greatly improve the business environment. For example, a new national ICT development policy has been adopted in 2011. There are also many successful foreign investors already working here in Burundi, and new investors should not be afraid to bring their capital in Burundi. We particularly welcome their investments in Burundi’s ICT and broadcasting sectors.