Bharti Airtel to invest $125 mn in Gabon

Libreville (Gabon), June 19 (IANS) India’s Bharti Airtel will invest $125 million more in Gabon to develop the communications network in the central African country.

The company announced the investment on the sidelines of “The New York Forum Africa 2013” event here Wednesday.

Bharti will use the money to expand third-generation and fourth-generation telecommunications networks and on some social programmes in the country, Manoj Kohli, chief executive for international operations, said in a statement.

“Airtel is committed to Gabon and ready to work with the government towards achieving their ICT goals. These include the deployment of a 3G and 4G network, when made available, to help businesses and the youth access world class data services,” said Kohli.

“We are in Gabon for the long haul and will support both commercial and social programmes.”

Gabon aims to have a countrywide digital infrastructure by 2016, enabling the development of a wide range of e-services, which will give rise to a major qualitative improvement in social services and create the foundations for Gabon.

Kohli said the company will support youth-driven activity like soccer and the support of a young Gabonese ICT entrepreneurship programme to provide ICT training to 10,000 youth over the next three years.

“We plan to develop training programmes on ICT business in collaboration with local training schools,” he added.

With high hydrocarbon reserves and foreign investment inflows, Gabon counts among the more prosperous countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with a per capita income of nearly $12,000.

Senior executives from Airtel Africa held discussions with the President Ali Bongo Ondimba during the Forum meeting and discussed possible areas of synergy.

Bharti Airtel has operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa.

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