CAIRO, (Reuters) – Telecom Egypt has signed a memorandum of understanding with Liquid Telecom to enable the pan-African group to complete Africa’s terrestrial fibre network stretching across the African continent, the companies said on Saturday.
Liquid Telecom, a subsidiary of Econet Wireless Global, has been building a fibre network across southern Africa covering Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It also has a presence in Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda.
“Liquid Telecom will link its network from Sudan into Telecom Egypt’s network via a new cross-border interconnection – bringing together a 60,000 km network that runs from Cape Town, through all the Southern, Central and Eastern African countries, and has now reached the border between Sudan and Egypt,” the two companies said in a statement.
They did not provide a time frame for the completion of the network or any estimate of the cost.
“Completing our vision of building a single network running on land, all the way from Cape to Cairo is a historic moment for the company and for a more connected Africa,” Strive Masiyiwa, founder and executive chairman of Econet, said in the statement.
“Completing our vision of building a single network running on land, all the way from Cape to Cairo is a historic moment for the company and for a more connected Africa. This network not only represents a remarkable engineering achievement that has overcome some of the most challenging distances and terrains on the continent, but it is also supporting the rise of Africa’s digital economies,” said Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet.
Mr Masiyiwa also observed that: “Wherever the One Africa network has been completed we have seen dramatic increase of data traffic between nations connected to it. We expect to see a lot of traffic between Egypt and the rest of Africa. Where there is improved communications, improved trade follows as well. We need to see more trade between African countries.”
As part of the strategic partnership, Liquid Telecom and Telecom Egypt will share network infrastructure and explore further areas of collaboration, including joint network services, a peering arrangement and a voice interconnection agreement.
Telecom Egypt, which has served Egyptian customers for over 160 years, will offer Liquid Telecom unrivalled reach through interconnection services, while Egypt Telecom’s customers will benefit from access to Liquid Telecom’s pan-African fibre network.
“This MoU is a great step in our strategy to penetrate the African market and avail Telecom Egypt’s most advanced technology and global infrastructure services to customers across Africa. We look forward to working alongside Liquid Telecom to develop new network services and products that will help stimulate intra-regional trade,” said Ahmed El Beheiry, Telecom Egypt’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.
The 2018 Annual Meetings of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), which is the foremost pan-African multilateral financial institution devoted to financing and promoting intra- and extra-African trade, is being held this week from 11 to 14 July in Abuja, Nigeria. It brings together banking industry professionals, trade and trade finance practitioners and other parties involved in economic development from across Africa and beyond.
“The roll-out of infrastructure, particularly high-speed networks, is crucial for stimulating intra-regional trade. The Cape to Cairo network sets a new standard for Africa and will open-up new trade opportunities across the region. Our congratulations to Telecom Egypt and Liquid Telecom for reaching an agreement to complete the Cape to Cairo network,” said Dr. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank.