A Social Business Incubator In The Eastern Congo
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liaison congo: Fast and reliable internet access in Bukavu

Innocent Misabiro is one of only a handful of digital infrastructure experts in Bukavu and was already running Liaison Congo when Ensemble first met him in 2013.

In those days, the company installed v-sat internet access into NGO offices and ran programmes to train people in the technical and practical aspects of internet installation.

In late 2013, Innocent recognised that the market for satellite provision would diminish and piece by piece a plan emerged for Innocent to adapt his capabilities and start an internet café to bring the benefits of the web to everyone in Bukavu.




Internet and computer access in Congo is limited and many areas are off-grid with sporadic use of electricity from generators but still prone to complete blackouts. The whole community is seeking reliable internet access. From secondary school or university teachers and students to jobless people looking for work and those employed looking to access information.

Despite the many internet cafés in Bukavu, there was insufficient internet provision to satisfy demand in a city of one million people and there was a need for a professional and reliable internet café where people have a clean and secure working space, fast internet browsing, fair pricing, profession technical staff and training opportunities. This was what Liaison Congo set out to provide.

Ensemble Support


Ensemble provided a loan in November 2013 to fund the startup of Café-1. The internet cafe was the first in Kivu to provide fast access fibre optic. More exciting still, Innocent installed a generator and solar batteries to bridge the electricity cuts. It was such a success that a second loan was agreed in January 2015 to open Café-2.

Today, Ensemble continues to provide substantial business advice, mentoring and support to Liaison Congo and has established a sustainable business plan to see each internet café become profitable and independent of the provided loans.

Recently, Liaison Congo became the first provider to offer International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) accreditation courses and now has several students studying ICDL modules. During the summer holidays children can attend low-cost computer introduction courses in both cafés.


Liason Congo’s Impact and a Better Future


The two cafés serve approximately 2,000 customers each month and 10,000 across the year which is a fantastically rich and diverse benefit to the community, given the need to accelerate the use of digital products in order to increase capacity in the population and catch up with other countries.

The fast and reliable internet connection has enabled several businesses to start up using the cafes as an office and local business people are frequent customers. University teachers come to prepare courses and students use the cafes to study.

The revenues from internet use, admin services and training are in excess of $100,000 per year, which is sufficient to run operations, employ people whose families are able to survive on monthly salaries and repay the loans each month.

Innocent has plans to open Café-3 in Bagira but the options to offer professional computer training are currently limited by the economic recession in Congo. Instead, he is working with Ensemble to develop a capacity in technology development and consultancy that will bring in additional revenues from local businesses and NGOs.

The potential for further businesses to be created, employment rates to increase and subsequent contribution to economic growth is dramatic. It’s a richly empowering business in a city that has the potential to help lead Kivu to a much better future.