Yes, the phrase Cape-to-Cairo is synonymous with imperialism but today you can dismiss that and start to associate it with connectivity. Because Liquid Telecom and Telecom Egypt have struck an agreement that will enable the completion of a 60,000-km terrestrial data network, known as “The One Africa,” that runs from Cairo to Cape Town. Telecom Egypt is Egypt’s biggest fixed-line and mobile operator.
The MoU will see Liquid Telecom linking its “network from Sudan into Telecom Egypt’s network via a new cross-border interconnection”. Speaking at the signing of the MoU, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet, Strive Masiyiwa said;
Completing our vision of building a single network running on land, all the way from Cape to Cairo, is a historic moment for the company and for a more connected Africa….This network not only represents a remarkable engineering achievement that has overcome some of the most challenging distances and terrains on the continent, but it is also supporting the rise of Africa’s digital economies
Ninety-nine percent of international data is transmitted by wires at the bottom of the ocean called submarine communications cables.
Therefore, ‘One Africa’ will provide an alternative to the multiple subsea cables that connect Sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa and in turn improving the connectivity of Africa and enhancing the prospect that business services such as cloud computing and storage will become more affordable. Strive Masiyiwa went on to say;
Wherever the One Africa network has been completed, we have seen dramatic increase of data traffic between nations connected to it. We expect to see a lot of traffic between Egypt and the rest of Africa. Where there is improved communications, improved trade follows as well. We need to see more trade between African countries
Furthermore, the ‘One Africa’ network could open up new possibilities for consumer services, predominantly in the entertainment (Netflix, Kwese Iflix) market that’s looking to grow in the foreseeable future.