ABIDJAN, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Ivory Coast will invest about 100 billion CFA francs ($170 million) on expanding its fibre optic telecoms network by 5,000 km, making Internet services cheaper and more accessible across the country, its minister for the digital economy and postal services said on Monday.
After an international tendering the government has chosen French companies Bouygues and Sagemcom and Morocco's Cegelec to complete the project, Bruno Nabagne Kone said.
The project, which will include the laying of three undersea cables, will start before the end of 2016 and will take between 18 months and two years to complete, Kone said, adding that Internet prices will fall "considerably" as a result.
Ivory Coast, a former French colony, is the world's top cocoa producer but its economic development has been hampered by a decade of political turmoil and civil conflict.
Its existing fibre optic network comprises some 2,000 km of cable. ($1 = 585.6200 CFA francs) (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Nellie Peyton, Greg Mahlich)