Google’s Equiano cable arrives in Togo!

The West African country will be the first landing of the “Equiano” cable, which will link Portugal to South Africa.

Source: Aljazeerea
March 21, 2022

The West African country Togo will be the first landing for a new Google undersea internet cable connected to Europe, in what the tech giant and the Togolese government have hailed as an “initiative major transformation of digital infrastructures”.

Friday’s announcement comes months after Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai announced a $1 billion investment over five years to support “a range of initiatives from improving connectivity to investment in startups” across the African continent.

In a joint statement, the Togolese government and Google said the “Equiano” cable, named after Nigerian-born writer and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano, would create improved and affordable high-speed internet access for millions around the world. countries and in West Africa. The disembarkation will take place in the Togolese capital, Lomé.

Cina Lawson, Togo’s Minister of Digital Economy and Digital Transformation, said the collaboration further shows “the country’s commitment to improving public and social services for all citizens so that they can benefit economically.” .

The cable is also expected to land in Nigeria and Namibia before a final touchdown in Cape Town, South Africa.

Google, which first announced the project in 2019, said the cable would have about 20 times more network capacity than a previous cable built to serve this region. This is the company’s third private international submarine cable and the first in Africa.

A local company formed by CSquared, an international wholesale open access broadband infrastructure company, and Société d’Infrastructure Numériques (SIN), a public telecommunications asset company, will manage and maintain the cable on Togolese soil. .

Togo’s government, led by President Faure Gnassingbe, who took power after the death of his father in 2005, has recently set its sights on digital development.

In 2020, it launched an ambitious plan to strengthen social support and economic development by investing in technology. It aims to make Togo, a country of approximately eight million inhabitants, a technological hub.

Last May, the World Bank approved an additional $11 million from the International Development Association “to improve connectivity in Togo and develop the country’s digital economy.”

The funding is part of the West Africa Regional Communications Infrastructure Program, which aims to bridge the “connectivity gaps” between 16 West African countries and the rest of the world.

“We are delighted that Togo is Equiano’s first landing on the African continent, as it aligns with the country’s ongoing efforts to promote digital inclusion in Africa,” said Nitin Gajria, Managing Director of Google Africa. sub-Saharan, in a press release.

“We look forward to working closely with the Togolese government and the Ministry of Digital Economy and Transformation as they continue to develop their digital infrastructure.”

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Melvin B. Baillie