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Democratic Republic of the Congo

Ministry of Planning

National Investment Promotion Agency


New Information and Communication Technologies

1. Legal framework

 In the DRC, the telecommunications sector is governed by the following legal texts:

  •  Law n°012/2002 on the post office;
  • The Framework Law n°013/2002 of 16 October 2002 on telecommunications in the DRC: this law provides for two structures to manage the ICT sector, namely:
    • The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications;
    • The Regulatory Authority for Posts and Telecommunications (ARPTC);
  • Law n°014/2002 of 16 October 2002 creating the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of the Congo,"ARPTC". 

2. The sectoral vision of the Government

2.1. Vision according to the Sectoral Policy Document

The main Strategic Axes of the Government’s policy for the development of the sector are defined in the Sector Policy Document (SPS). 

In order to achieve these objectives, the sector policy defined by the Government is based on the following main strategic axes: 

  • Adapt and complete the legal and regulatory framework of the sector in order to promote the development of healthy and fair competition for the benefit of users and to optimize network interconnection and access to key capacities and infrastructures;
  • Clarify the respective roles of the sector’s institutions and make sector regulation more efficient, particularly in terms of access and interconnection regulation and radio frequency management;
  • Adapt the regime for telecommunications networks and services in order to eliminate inequalities of treatment and anomalies linked to the failure to take account of the convergence of services;
  • Strengthen the regulatory function, in order to guarantee the implementation of legal and regulatory provisions relating to competition, interconnection and access;
  • Define and implement a national plan for the allocation and management of radio frequencies with a view to optimizing the use of frequency resources, eliminating harmful interference and putting an end to fraudulent use;
  • Rationalize and clarify the taxation applicable to the telecommunications sector;
  • Develop a universal access implementation plan to achieve the objectives of opening up access;
  • Restructuring the public operators in the sector (SCPT and RENATELSAT) within the framework of public-private partnerships aimed at ensuring their sanitation and long-term viability;
  • Create a national broadband network enabling network operators and service providers to develop their offer throughout the territory;
  • Set up international broadband access in order to significantly reduce the cost of Internet and ICT access;
  • To set up the institutional framework for ICTs;
  • Gradually computerize all government services;
  • Support businesses and the population in the appropriation of ICTs.

2.2. Vision according to the National Strategic Development Plan

The Government’s vision in this sector is to bring the D.R. Congo into the digital economy on its own. In this perspective, a significant increase in the contribution of ICTs to the country’s economic and social development is expected, benefiting the sector’s actors, public services and households. This vision should be reflected in improved governance of this sector, investment in national broadband infrastructure, improved access to ICTs for the population, the transition from analogue to digital television (DTT), etc.

Between now and 2021, it is envisaged that the first Congolese satellite will be put into orbit, that 5,000 km of national fiber-optic backbone will be completed and that 30 million lines and mobiles (metropolitan networks) will be connected.

By 2030, the entire public administration and the specialized services of border posts will have to be computerized and the country will need to have a quality and sufficient human capital in the field of ICTs. By 2050, more than 50% of households will use optical fiber and more than 90% will connect to the Internet via their mobile phones. DC will need to develop the market for robotics (digital technology) and will become an important market for telephones, software, video games and 3D technology. It will also be expected to see a significant growth in e-commerce.

In order to achieve these objectives, the sectoral strategy to be implemented will be based on six priorities as shown in the diagram below.

3. A few projects in progress

a. SNEL Project

This is a project to rehabilitate the SNEL network and connect it to the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPMP project). A 48-fiber optic guard cable is expected to be laid over the high-voltage power transmission lines linking Inga to Zambia.

SNEL’s own transmission needs being limited; it will have excess capacity, which it plans to market, directly or indirectly, to local operators.

b.The WAFS regional project

 The West African Festoon System (WAFS) project is a regional broadband backhaul project with some neighboring countries to connect to very high bandwidth and the SAT3 submarine cable.

c. The CAB5 project

The CAB (Central African Backbone) project is funded by the World Bank.

d. The RCIP Regional Program

This is a World Bank program to finance, through partnerships with the private sector, national and regional broadband infrastructure. The DRC is eligible to be part of the program but the procedure has to be initiated, which postpones this possibility for quite some time.

4. Market data

Key Indicators



Growth Rate

Mobile Phone Services

Number of GSM operators




Number of mobile phone subscriptions (Voices)




Turnover in US$




ARPU Mobile (Voice) (USD)




Mobile MOU (Minutes Voice/ Subscription/month)




Penetration rate (voice)




Traffic Volume (Voices) in minutes




SMS Traffic Volume (Number)




Investments (USD)




Direct job creation




 Mobile Internet Services (Data) 

Number of subscriptions




Internet penetration rate




ARPU Mobile Internet (USD)




 Fixed Internet Services

Number of ISPs




Number of subscribers




Fixed Internet penetration rate




Mobile Money Service

Number of Subscriptions




Mobile Money penetration rate in %




ARPU Mobile Money (USD)




 Average service tariffs applied in the sector 

Voice services (USD)




On-net: USD/min.




Off-net: USD/min.




SMS services (USD)




Data Services (Mobile Internet) (USD)




It should be noted that compared to the demographics of the DRC and the evolution of the market, telephone and Internet penetration rates are still very low. This constitutes a business opportunity that can be exploited by new investors.

Graph n°1: Evolution of the number of mobile phone subscriptions

Source: Prepared on the basis of Table 1 above.

Graph n°2: Mobile phone penetration rate

Source: Prepared on the basis of Table 1 above

The penetration rate at the end of 2018 is 42%. This threshold is still very low compared to the data of the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) where on average it is 127% for developed countries, 98% for developing countries and 77% forAfrica, of which the DRC is a part.

Graphn°3:Number of mobile Internet subscriptions

Source: Prepared on the basis of Table 1 above

Graph n°4: Mobile Internet penetration rate

Source: Prepared on the basis of Table 1 above

The penetration rate at the end of 2018, at 16.21%, is still very low compared to the data of the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) where, on average, it is 97% for developed countries, 48% for developing countries and 26% for Africa, of which the DRC is part. 

Graph n°5: Change in the number of subscriptions to mobile money services

Source: Prepared on the basis of Table 1 above

Looking at this graph, it is worth noting that the mobile money market is growing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Graph n°6: Increase in the number of subscriptions to mobile money services

From the analysis of all these graphs, it is worth noting that over the years the penetration rate of low and high-speed mobile network services (voice, Internet, mobile money, etc.) has been increasing. Despite this positive trend, the market is not yet saturated and is available for new investors.


5. Projects Seeking Funding

  • Construction of a modern national broadband telecommunications infrastructure;
  • Implementation of multi-purpose telecenters in every nook and cranny of the country;
  • Computerization of the Public Administration, specialized services and border posts;
  • Implementation of mechanisms for the management of Internet exchange points, i.e. network interconnection centers deployed by Internet providers;
  • Hosting of google cache servers in Kinshasa in order to contribute to the improvement of access to google content by end users;
  • The DRC exchange point project, which aims at providing the country with a national network interconnection infrastructure. 


Source: ARPTC and DEP/Ministry of NPTIC