The Brazza-Kinshasa Bridge: A Symbol of Responsible E-development in the Two Congos

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It’s 2050 and a few months ago, our country, Congo Brazzaville, took a giant step along the path to its development and regional integration. Together with our neighbor Congo Kinshasa, we inaugurated a 1.5-kilometer long bridge with a tollgate, a railway track, a road, and a pedestrian walkway, irrevocably linking our two capitals—the world’s closest capitals that had long been separated by the Congo River.

Indeed, 35 years ago, canoes and high-speed boats were still being used to travel between our two countries. But today this bridge allows us to shape the future and a new reality characterized by the free movement of goods and people. This project is the product of reforms brought about by the expansion of the fourth Digital Revolution in the Republic of Congo, which radically transformed jobs while improving living conditions and ending hunger.

Let’s briefly go back to the technological advances that we have observed over roughly a decade and their impact on this wonderful bridge construction project. Schools specializing in the fields of renewable energy, agribusiness, digital finance, artificial intelligence, and the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) have been established in the country. The Internet of Things, e-commerce, e-government, e-development, and e-tourism are under way. And strides have also been made in such areas as technological learning, medicine, massive data use, and drone control systems.

Thanks to this plethora of engineers, specialists, and consultants who were trained in our schools, we have:

  • reduced bridge project development timelines by using 3D printing;
  • made life easier for workers and all Congolese nationals by using 5G technology to give them real-time access to their bank accounts. They can therefore meet their family’s financial, nutritional, and education needs by using mobile payment services to transfer money to them;
  • generated electricity for the project using solar energy and hydropower provided by numerous solar panels installed above the river and equipped with a dynamic positioning system with a satellite link (using the African satellite launched by Ghana) to maintain pre-set coordinates. Phase 6 of the INGA hydropower dam constructed on the Congo River simultaneously supplements the project’s electricity needs and supplies energy to all of Central and Eastern Africa;
  • provided project staff with abundant, varied food produced in the Republic of Congo by an automated agriculture sector using upgraded watering and irrigation systems connected to robots and controlled by smartphones, and, in particular, the network of drones that helped enhance crop surveillance and input distribution.

So, let's come back to 2019 and remind our countries that embracing all these technological advances and ultimately building this bridge will pave the way for them to create jobs and engage in responsible e-development.

Amour-Freddy Bolombo Bazedimba, a Congolese national, is a winner of the World Bank Africa 2019 Blog4Dev regional competition.

Authors

Amour-Freddy Bilombo Bazedimba

2019 Blog4Dev Winner, Congo Republic

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