The mobile phone company Tigo announced this week that it has acquired more than 250,000 new customers in less than three months following its return to two troubled eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Since June, more than two thousand new customers a day have joined Tigo’s latest networks in North and South Kivu provinces. Tigo’s success comes in spite of continuing unrest in the region, and has led to the official opening of the first Tigo store in the North Kivu capital Goma.
Authorities attending the event welcomed Tigo, saying many local residents who have lived through civil war and continuing unrest were now able to connect with families and friends by telephone for the very first time.
North Kivu‘s Home Affairs minister Dr Valérien Mbalu and the Mayor of Goma, Naasson Kubuya, joined in the celebrations. Mayor Kubuya said: "Our citizens and civil agents have started to smile again thanks to Tigo."
Tigo’s General Manager Stephane Teyssedre, speaking outside Tigo’s new head office, said: “We are delighted to be back in Kivu and offering its people a superior service. Mobile communications can transform people’s lives and we are determined not only to remain here but to expand our network to connect more and more people, including faster internet connections to the outside world. By the end of the year, high-speed 3G will be available here.”
Tigo, part of Millicom, the international telecommunications and Media Company, is connecting eastern DRC to the rest of the world amid a set of unique challenges.
The country - two thirds the size of Western Europe - is emerging from a brutal war and now hosts the United Nation’s largest deployed peacekeeping force of almost 20,000 personnel on the ground.
Millicom President and CEO, Hans-Holger Albrecht said: “Our return has been met by an amazing response from its people and I congratulate our team for their extraordinary work in such tough conditions. The progress is a symbol of the ambition to help transform the lives of customers in Kivu and support the process of normalisation across the region.”