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Bayobab to deploy fiber in South Sudan

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Bayobab, a digital connectivity solutions company, has announced plans to build a fiber optic cable network across South Sudan.

The wholesale fiber optic subsidiary of Africa's biggest mobile firm, MTN Group, presented its plans for South Sudan during a meeting with the country's National Communications Authority (NCA) late last week.

The fiber optic cable network is expected to help strengthen South Sudan's digital infrastructure.

According to media reports, the project fits with Bayobab's ambition to densify its network to position itself as leading open access digital infrastructure platform focused on Africa.

Even though there are no concrete details of how the project will be carried out, the initiative should help advance South Sudan's digital transformation plans.

According to statistics from data platform DataReportal, the country had 1.36 million Internet users at the start of 2024, with an Internet penetration rate of just 12.1%.

Bayobab's fiber optic cable network across South Sudan is expected to help strengthen the country's digital infrastructure.   (Source: Image by on Freepik)
Bayobab's fiber optic cable network across South Sudan is expected to help strengthen the country's digital infrastructure.
(Source: Image by on Freepik)

With a population of 11.18 million, data from Kepios analysis indicates that Internet users in South Sudan increased by 22,000, or 1.7%, between January 2023 and January 2024.

Kepios noted that 9.82 million people in South Sudan did not use the Internet at the start of 2024, suggesting that 87.9% of the population remain offline.

Bayobab connecting hard to reach areas

In April 2024, Bayobab announced that it had successfully completed the structural separation and transfer of fiber assets from its sister company, MTN Zambia.

It said the move was in line with its Ambition 2030 strategy and paved the way for the company's expansion plans, which were further highlighted when it landed its 45,000km 2Africa cable in Ghana and Nigeria in February 2024.

In November 2023, it signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Smart Africa Alliance and infrastructure investment platform Africa50 to support the fiber optic cable initiative Project East2West.

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That followed the May 2023 partnership between Bayobab and Africa50 to develop a terrestrial fiber optic cable network connecting the eastern shores of Africa to those on the west coast.

Bayobab has been steadily working towards connecting underserved communities in the most remote areas in Africa. In July 2023, it secured a contract to manage, operate and maintain the national fiber optic infrastructure of the Central African Republic.

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*Top image is of Bayobab and South Sudan's NCA representatives. (Source: South Sudan's NCA)

Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

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