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South Sudan Gets Hooked Up to Liquid Telecom's Pan-African Backbone

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Liquid Telecom, the pan-African telecoms group, has announced it will implement and operate South Sudan's first fiber transport network.

The network will connect the East African country to Liquid Telecom's One Africa long-haul data transmission network, which stretches 70,000km across 13 African countries, connecting Cairo to Cape Town, and which hooks up to international subsea networks. (See Sea Change for Africa With Liquid's Fiber Link? and Liquid Telecom, Telecom Egypt to Complete 'One Africa' Network.)

The first phase of the agreement signed between the Government of South Sudan's National Communication Authority and Liquid Telecom will include a 300km fiber backbone operating from the border of Uganda, through South Sudan to the capital, Juba. Multiple "metro clusters" will also be deployed in the capital city.

Dr. Ladu Wani Kenyi, director general of South Sudan's National Communication Authority, speaking at the Liquid Telecom symbolic fiber digging inauguration in Juba on Monday July 1, 2019.
Dr. Ladu Wani Kenyi, director general of South Sudan’s National Communication Authority, speaking at the Liquid Telecom symbolic fiber digging inauguration in Juba on Monday July 1, 2019.

This first phase is scheduled to go live in the last quarter of 2019. The network will be expanded to other cities in subsequent phases, in time supporting the full country.

The project was officially launched at a symbolic fiber-digging inauguration in Juba on Monday July 1, 2019.

"Liquid Telecom is immensely proud to bring fiber connectivity to South Sudan for the first time," said Strive Masiyiwa, executive chairman of Econet Global and Liquid Telecom.

"This modern ICT infrastructure will help address the most pressing challenges within South Sudan, including the urgent need for peace and state building, job creation and improved livelihoods. South Sudan's 13 million citizens will be connected to 300 million people across the East African Community. Connecting South Sudan to the 'One Africa' broadband network will also champion pan-Africa trade and help build Africa's digital future," he added.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit believes the implementation of what he calls critical fiber infrastructure is "a landmark step" in the delivery of affordable communications access to the people of South Sudan as well as the business community, government and civil society.

"By connecting South Sudan to the global Internet, this important infrastructure development will help improve social mobility, enable economic diversification and drive inclusive private sector-led growth and productive employment. The agreement is also ideally timed, coinciding with the signing of the Revitalised Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan," the president said.

A map of Liquid Telecom's pan-African optical transmission network (without the planned South Sudan deployment).
A map of Liquid Telecom's pan-African optical transmission network (without the planned South Sudan deployment).

It is hoped the infrastructure will ultimately create a foundation for digital growth, innovation and prosperity in the young country, Liquid Telecom noted in its official announcement about the deployment, while supporting the government of South Sudan's to achieve its economic growth targets during the next ten years.

South Sudan will link to Liquid Telecom's network across the region which covers the East African Community, a regional intergovernmental organization of six partner states: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. The Community connects up to 300 million people and stimulates cross-border investment and trade.

— The Staff, Connecting Africa

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