In the race to install next-generation submarine fiber optic cables in Africa, Google came first against its Californian competitor Facebook. While the latter’s 2Africa project should take another year to be connected to the continent, the Equiano cable from the Mountain View firm arrived in Togo in March 2022 – and the event was celebrated with great fanfare -, then two months later on the Nigerian coast.
Why Google releases 1 billion dollars for Africa?
Several other Equiano connections were due to take place in the coming months, at Swakopmund in Namibia, at Rupert’s Bay on the island of Saint Helena and finally at Melkbosstrand in South Africa. In total, the Google cable, whose starting point is Portugal, will cover the entire western side of the continent over 12,000 kilometers in length.
This new infrastructure, which is part of a $1 billion investment plan for the next five years, makes Google one of the main players in the digital opening up of the continent. Beyond the fact of participating in the connection of hundreds of millions of future users, this cable is already an economic windfall for big tech, whose general manager of the digital giant for sub-Saharan Africa details the challenges.
Jeune Afrique: What is the economic model of your Equiano submarine cable?