(Rwanda corrected statement to $140 mln not $145 mln, para 4)
By Jenny Clover
KIGALI, June 10 Rwanda on Monday signed a deal
with South Korea's largest telecoms provider KT Corp
to roll out high-speed 4G Internet to most of its citizens
within three years.
Rwanda, a landlocked central African state and one of
Africa's fastest growing economies,, has laid more than 3,000km
of fibre-optic cable since 2009 in a bid to develop a service
based economy and become a regional leader in information
communication technology (ICT). Critics, however, say almost no
large investor has come on board yet.
Rwanda's economy expanded by 9.4 percent in the 2011/2012
fiscal year but only around 8.3 percent of the population have
internet access at the moment, according to Rwandan officials.
Rwanda said KT Corp will inject around $140 million into a
joint venture company, which will be responsible for rolling out
a fast 4G LTE broadband network to 95 percent of Rwandans. Debt
and vendor financing will also be needed.
"This agreement with KT marks a major milestone in Rwanda's
drive to become a modern, knowledge-based economy - and by
expanding our information infrastructure, we will create jobs,
support social progress and propel economic growth," Jean
Philbert Nsengimana, Rwanda's Minister of Youth and ICT, said in
Rwanda said the government's equity investment in the joint
venture, which has a 25-year term, would consist of using its
national fibre optic cable, spectrum and wholesale-only operator
Kigali also invited other mobile network operators to invest
in the project and provide retail access to 4G LTE wireless
broadband services to some 12 million Rwandans.
(Writing By Drazen Jorgic; editing by Patrick Graham and