May 22, 2024

Digital transformation: Google expands  investment in Africa with new fiber optic cable 

Digital transformation: Google expands  investment in Africa with new fiber optic cable 

By Juliet Umeh 

To improve connectivity and accelerate economic growth across Africa, Google today, announced Umoja, the first-ever fiber optic route to directly connect Africa with Australia.

It also said its expanded cybersecurity collaboration with Kenya further proves its commitment to Africa.

The technology giant said Umoja, a Swahili word for unity, joins Equiano in an initiative called Africa Connect. 

It said it was designed to increase digital connectivity, accelerate economic growth, and deepen resilience across Africa.

According to Google, “Umoja’s terrestrial path was built in collaboration with Liquid Technologies to form a highly scalable route through Africa, including access points that will allow other countries to take advantage of the network.

“Anchored in Kenya, the Umoja cable route will pass through Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, including the Google Cloud region, before crossing the Indian Ocean to Australia. 

“Umoja will enable African countries to more reliably connect with each other and the rest of the world. 

“Establishing a new route distinct from existing connectivity routes is critical to maintaining a resilient network for a region that has historically experienced high-impact outages.”

US Ambassador to Kenya, Meg Whitman, said: “We are grateful for the partnership from leaders across Africa and Australia to deliver Africa Connect to people, businesses, and governments in Africa and around the world.

“Access to the latest technology, supported by reliable and resilient digital infrastructure, is critical to growing economic opportunity. This is a meaningful moment for Kenya’s digital transformation journey and the benefits of today’s announcement will cascade across the region.” 

Also, the President of the Republic of Kenya,  Dr. William Ruto, said: “I am delighted to welcome Google’s investment in digital connectivity, marking a historic milestone for Kenya, Africa, and Australia. 

“The new intercontinental fiber optic route will significantly enhance our global and regional digital infrastructure. This initiative is crucial in ensuring the redundancy and resilience of our region’s connectivity to the rest of the world, especially in light of recent disruptions caused by cuts to sub-sea cables. 

“By strengthening our digital backbone, we are not only improving reliability but also paving the way for increased digital inclusion, innovation, and economic opportunities for our people and businesses.” 

Australian Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland MP, said: “Diversifying Australia’s connectivity and supporting digital inclusion across the globe are both incredibly important objectives, and Google’s Umoja cable will help to do just that. Australia welcomes Google’s investment and congratulates all those involved in undertaking this crucial initiative.” 

Chairman and founder of Liquid, Strive Masiyiwa, said: “Africa’s major cities including Nairobi, Kampala, Kigali, Lubumbashi, Lusaka, and Harare will no longer be hard-to-reach endpoints remote from the coastal landing sites that connect Africa to the world. 

“They are now stations on a data superhighway that can carry thousands of times more traffic than currently reaches here. I am proud that this project helps us deliver a digitally connected future that leaves no African behind, regardless of how far they are from the technology centers of the world.”