Telecom

Burundi: ICTs infrastructure left unexploited because of lack of culture

Eco Cash is a mobile financial transaction service offered by the telephone operator Econet-Leo

Eco Cash is a mobile financial transaction service offered by the telephone operator Econet-Leo

Minister of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) says, despite the country having enough basic infrastructure, Burundi falls back in the use of ICTs.

“We have found that Burundi has a fairly well-developed ICT infrastructure. But the observation we make, bitterly noteworthy, is that we are still deficient in terms of ICT culture”, says Nestor Bankumukunzi.

He says for example, Burundi has over 6,000 km of fiber optic. “The fiber optic that is one of the most dense in the sub-region, is not sufficiently exploited”.

Pas-Plus Ntahombaye, the Executive Secretary of ICTs at the ministry says only about 40% of the fiber optic internet is used

The most increasingly used form of telecommunication in Burundi is mobile telephony mainly for calls and other services. The Agency for Telecommunications Regulation (ARCT) says mobile penetration was 49% by the end of 2016.

The rate of internet penetration was particularly low. Only 0, 21 % Burundians used internet.

There is, however, a growing trend of using new services offered by telephone operators such as mobile banking and money transfer. Also, mobile data provided by the operators make it possible for users to use social media and carry out research on the internet.
Bankumukunzi says, given the proven role of ICTs in development, media should help in raising the public awareness about the opportunities the technologies offer.

“I insist on the role of media because it’s been shown that the exploitation of ICTs contributes to development in various aspects”, he says

He says one of the two focal points of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day to be celebrated on17 May will be the role of media in spreading the use of ICTs.

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