In an update to his followers on Facebook this week, Econet Wireless founder Strive Masiyiwa shared plans to expand the Liquid Telecom fibre network to cover the stretch of the African continent from Cape Town in South Africa to Cairo in Egypt. Yes, Cape to Cairo and the update was titled just that “Cape to Cairo by fibre optic.”
The Liquid Telecom Group, which we wrote about earlier today, is a subsidiary of Econet Wireless International, which owns a number of companies in telecoms, renewable energy and financial services. The Liquid Telecom fibre network this year emerged as Africa’s single largest integrated fibre network spanning Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho and South Africa. A total distance now of about 15,000km. The company’s fibre is also connected to a number undersea fibre cable systems making it the most fault resistant fibre network on the continent.
“Our dream is to reach Cairo within the next two years. Eventually, it will run through every single African country” Masiyiwa says in the update. “We have been building now for 10 years. Digging trenches along the side of the roads, through so many countries, involving tens of thousands of people with picks and shovels, has many challenges, technically, logistically, and financially.”
Masiyiwa is famous for striving against the odds in a 5 years long fight to obtain a license to start Econet Wireless Zimbabwe back in the 90s. He went on to build the business empire and has been reported to be worth hundreds of millions.