Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.


East Africa Com: Subsea solutions for Africa's connectivity gap

Article Image
Africa remains the least connected continent in the world, but global giants like Meta (formerly Facebook) and Google are backing major subsea cable projects that plan to help mitigate the continent's connectivity issues and bring Internet infrastructure to Africa's population of 1.4 billion.

During a panel discussion at the East Africa Com 2022 conference, Meta's Connectivity Policy Head, Fargani Tambeayuk, pointed out that Africa's fast population growth will equal a high demand for connectivity in the future.

He said there needs to therefore be assurance that Africa has the necessary capacity, and that the digital transformation of the continent is supported by its infrastructure.

Cables galore

Meta is part of a consortium – along with MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, Vodafone, China Mobile International, Saudi Telecom (stc), Telecom Egypt and WIOCC – that is rolling out the 2Africa subsea cable system.

The cable will fully encircle the continent from Europe past South Africa and will continue counter-clockwise up the Indian Ocean, crossing overland in Egypt and then connecting back to Europe on the Italian, French and Spanish shores.

Tambeayuk said when completed in 2024, 2Africa will be the longest subsea cable ever deployed in the world.

"It is the first cable of its kind to connect both the Eastern seaboard and the Western seaboard of Africa, and this is a timely investment, and we are excited that we are making this investment with our partners," he said.

Meanwhile the Google-backed subsea cable system Equiano is due to land in Namibia this month and in South Africa in June 2022. The subsea cable investment will run through Togo, Nigeria, Namibia, South Africa and St Helena to connect Africa with Europe.

Expanding capacity

SES Strategy and Market Intelligence Manager, Deepu Pillai, pointed out that despite the connectivity gap, subsea cables like Google's Equiano and 2Africa have expanded into the region in the last few years.

"However, even though these cables have expanded the capacity in the market, the operational fiber networks within Africa have also increased every year and currently it is estimated that only 54% of the African population lives within 25-kilometre range of an operational fiber board which means that connectivity continues to be challenging," Pillai added.

"We need innovation in the policy and regulation around devices, we would need devices to become more affordable and ways of financing smart devices. There is a lot that we need to do and as Meta we have partnered with policy makers to see how we come together and really innovate in the policy and regulation side," Tambeayuk said.

Poa Internet CEO, Andy Halsall, also weighed in and said it is great that companies like Meta and Google are bringing in more cable capacity to the continent, but if the subsea cables stay on the shores, it is not going to solve the problem.

He said there is not a one-size-fits-all solution, as some areas might need fiber and others might need satellite. Therefore, each area's problems need to be given solutions that would work for it.

You can access on-demand content from East Africa Com 2022 for free here.

Related posts:

*Top image source: Bandwidth photo created by freepik -

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub


Moya super app takes aim at SA fintech market

Super app Moya's fintech platform, MoyaPay, aims to be South Africa's most widely used mobile money payments platform.


Hot startup of the month: Kenya's Shamba Pride

This month's hot startup, Shamba Pride, wants to revolutionize the rural agricultural trade ecosystem in Kenya by transforming agro-dealers into franchised 'DigiShops.'

More Innovation hub

Guest Perspectives


Omdia View: April 2022

By Omdia Analysts

This month's Omdia View highlights indicate a shift to digital transformation and operational consolidation to maximize return on investments.


Omdia View: March 2022

By Omdia Analysts

This month's Omdia summary of the biggest stories in the Middle East and Africa focuses on SA's spectrum auction and new submarine cables landing in Kenya and Togo.

More Guest Perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Flash poll

All polls

Latest video

More videos

Archived webinars

Boosting Customer Experience in the Digital Age

From the first interaction to the last payment: convert leads into clients, drive loyalty and grow your bottom line.

The digital age has ushered in a new era of customer engagement. Consumer demands and expectations are higher than ever – where an affordable but seamless online experience is now the norm.

At a time when competition for your customers is fierce, ensuring a client journey that is tailored to their needs has never been more important. The ability to build these bespoke offerings starts with understanding, and that understanding is built on data.

This webinar will explore how gathering insight is key to growing and retaining a strong customer base; we’ll unpack how CRM platforms, mobile payment, lead capture, and online marketing are key factors in building a successful 21st Century digital business.

  • Customer Experience – understanding consumer expectations of today
  • What easy steps can you take to provide a complete, immersive digital customer experience?
  • How to leverage modern digital tools to build customer loyalty

More Webinars

Sponsored video

More videos

AfricaCom perspectives


Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.


Accelerating women in STEM: In conversation with GirlCode's Tinyiko Simbine

GirlCode co-founder and CFO Tinyiko Simbine talks about why it's important to help girls and young women excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.


How Poa Internet is unlocking meaningful connectivity in East Africa

Poa Internet's CEO Andy Halsall shares his views on what it takes to develop last-mile connectivity and get Africans online in a meaningful way.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up