1. Getting from Lubumbashi to Kinshasa is a journey of more than 2 300km, through the world’s second largest rain forest. The way it was done was to piggyback the fibre cable on top of the power grid that runs through this forest.2. Finance: Financing something like this is just not easy. I remember going to see the World Bank to plead on behalf of the DRC government, to fund the project. In the end they funded part of it, whilst a private sector consortium of telecom operators and SNEL (the power company of the DRC) did the rest.
3. Politics: This project would have been hard enough without the politics. At one time it just stopped because of political wrangling.Then one day a new and dynamic leader was elected. He called me and asked me to go to Kinshasa where I had not been in almost 30 years. He knew all about the work and why it had always stalled. He asked me what we needed to complete the work. We shook hands and I got our people back to work. People my age talk a lot about legacy initiatives. I would like our work in getting this done to be one of my legacy initiatives. I am super proud of the more than 10 000 people who worked on this. We are still working on other great projects in the DRC:
- We have more than 5 000 people digging the 2 000 km to cross from Kinshasa to Kigali.
- We have a special project to cross the Congo River to link Kinshasa and Brazzaville. This will be completed by end of March this year.
- We are linking Kinshasa to Luanda.This will be finished end of April.