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MainOne Partners Government and the World Bank to Deliver Connectivity Services into Burkina Faso

Main One, West Africa’s premier connectivity and data center solution provider, has been entrusted by the State of Burkina Faso, backed by the World Bank, to provide bulk connectivity services to a consortium of operators through the PAV-Burkina Cooperative, for the next three (3) years. Following an international bid to select a preferred operator, MainOne was chosen by the Burkinabe Government (with financial backing from the World Bank) to provide PAV-Burkina with bulk capacity to nodes in Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso.

As a landlocked country, Burkina Faso has faced difficulties in accessing world-class connectivity and maintaining ubiquitous broadband internet access due to the lack of infrastructure and the reluctance of major operators to explore operational broadband service delivery models favorable for socio-economic development of the country. To address this challenge, the PRICAO Initiative was created by the Burkina Faso Government, in collaboration with a consortium of Internet Service Providers and Mobile Operators. The purpose of the initiative is to facilitate the creation of virtual landing points as a platform for the extension of broadband network coverage in the country, with a view to improving the quality of connectivity in the region; increase Internet penetration and improve the performance of ICT services.

In order to set up an independent and competitive framework for connectivity services, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Postal Services (MDENP) with the support of the World Bank, created a Cooperative Consortium (SCOOP PAV-BURKINA). The consortium brings together key electronic service stakeholders to deliver a turnkey project that will provide fiber optic transmission infrastructure between Ouagadougou and Dakola, to be delivered in two (2) phases within a 3-year period. This Cooperative has the heavy task of managing and administering the infrastructure judiciously in order to ensure a fair distribution for the various marker players.

The World Bank’s 20 million dollars plus support of the PRICAO initiative, has enabled the Burkinabe State to set up a 200km fiber optic transmission link from Ouagadougou to Dakola. The first phase of the project commenced in 2018, with the initial stage providing capacity in Ouagadougou over 3 years. Phase 2 of the project will commence in quarter two of year 2020 and will lead to the provision of additional internet capacity in Ouagadougou and Bobo Dioulasso within another 3-year period. Main One, has been selected to deliver Phase 2 and will provide 10 Gbps broadband capacity in Ouagadougou, together with 5Gbps in Bobo Dioulasso. Prior to this, MainOne had been selected in 2019 through a restricted bids process and currently deliver an additional capacity of 2.5Gbps to Ouagadougou to strengthen and secure the capacity initially delivered in Phase I of the project.

Leveraging their extensive partnership with key stakeholders in the region, MainOne has been able to provide its services in Burkina through a diverse terrestrial optical fibers connecting its landing point in Accra to the Burkinabe border town of Paga, where the organization has made significant investments by establishing a physical point of  presence specifically to address the need of the Burkina market. Today, the company offers world-class quality service with 99.95% service availability and has helped BURKINA PAV members achieve up to 50% reduction in the cost per megabit through the bulk broadband connectivity purchase model.

These projects and their success highlight the progress made by the Government of Burkina Faso and the initiatives of PAV-BURKNA with regards to critical broadband infrastructures and services in their quest to develop the digital economy. This is in accordance with the Government initiative to strengthen infrastructure and improve connectivity in the country. The collaboration with MainOne has shown that significant progress can be achieved through bulk capacity purchasing, effectively maximizing the values ​​of existing fiber assets in the region, complemented by new investments supported by International Development Agencies (IDA). This is improving service reach and reducing prices for consumers by removing cost duplication.

Through the Government’s action, financially supported by the World Bank and technically by the PAV BF cooperative, an increment in broadband internet penetration was recorded from 10% to 19% in 2019. With MainOne’s track record in the region, choosing them for Phase 2 of the project will guarantee a considerable increase in broadband penetration in Burkina Faso and attainment of Government’s digital objectives.

In a related development, MainOne has reiterated its commitment to explore similar models with other ISPs, Mobile Operators and Governments in other countries across the West Africa region. The company remain committed to supporting the development of the digital ecosystem in West Africa, enabling network operators and the government to access world-class infrastructure and services at competitive prices and delivering bulk capacity that helps to reduce cost per Mbps and ensure an improved connectivity experience.