Alcatel-Lucent is to provide the government of Burkina Faso with cloud networking technology that will enable it to develop new digital public services, such as E-government, E-learning and E-health. The company will supply the West African nation with its NFV (Network Functions Virtualization), CloudBand and IP platforms, which will be integrated into the ‘G-Cloud’ infrastructure to being built around virtualized network resources from cloud nodes in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso’s capital, and five provinces.
Approximately 400 buildings in 13 regional urban centers will be connected through a 513Km fiber-optic IP/MPLS wide area network. Backhaul will be provided by an 800 km fiber-optic transmission system that will become part of Burkina Faso’s National Fibre Optics Backbone.
The project is part of an ambitious IT and telecommunication strategy being administered by the country’s Ministry for Digital Development (MDENP), and intends to enable connectivity between public departments and municipalities via an e-government platform – an integral element of Burkina Faso’s Economic and Social Development Strategy, (SCADD).
The network will support the anticipated increase in future demand for digital services to the health, education, justice, immigration, parliament and other sectors in the coming years. Under the agreement with MDENP, Alcatel-Lucent will support network and infrastructure operations to be installed by 2017.
Financing for the project is being facilitated by the Danish government through the Danida Business Finance agency, whose contribution to the project amounts to €30 million (19.9 billion FCFA) with a direct grant subsidy of €15.5 million (10 billion FCFA).
Alcatel-Lucent will ensure a seamless transfer of knowledge by its operational support to the teams of MDENP in order that they can take over the full network operation responsibility by the end of the contract and also will provide a training and development program for more than 100 government employees.
Burkina Faso has been focused on developing its information technology sector in hopes of creating more jobs. Last year the authorities made 50 government data sets available to the public online and became the second African country, after Rwanda, to begin conducting paperless cabinet meetings. Among low-income countries, Burkina Faso’s government is the only one to offer downloadable forms on its websites, according to a United Nations report on government digital readiness last year.