Africa50, Bayobab Collaborate to Develop $320m Pan-African Terrestrial Fibre 

Africa50, Bayobab Collaborate to Develop $320m Pan-African Terrestrial Fibre 

 Emma Okonji

Bayobab and Africa50, yesterday, signed a partnership to develop Project East2West, a terrestrial fibre optic cable network connecting the eastern shores of Africa to those on the continent’s west.  

In a statement released yesterday, both companies said the partnership would invest up to $320 million connecting ten African countries over the years 2023, 2024 and 2025. 

Bayobab is wholly owned by MTN Group and the nvestment is within MTN’s previously announced Ambition 2025 plans and will contribute to Bayobab reaching the Group’s target of having 135 000km of proprietary fibre over the coming three years. 

MTN Group President and CEO, Ralph Mupita, said: “The partnership with Africa50 comes at an opportune time, just as we rebrand MTN GlobalConnect to Bayobab to position the business as an Africa-focused open-access digital infrastructure platform. The alliance is more than cables and connections; it is about building bridges of connectivity that span nations and bring people closer together.” 

According to him, “For landlocked African countries, Project East2West will improve latency by almost two-thirds and increase capacity to support high-quality broadband access. In this way, it will level the playing field and ensure that everyone has a fair chance to succeed in the digital world.” 

The partnership will offer substantial improvements in data traffic for internet service providers, mobile network operators and hyper scalers operating in these countries. It will also bridge the bottlenecks in global internet traffic landing in and going out of Africa. It is expected to cut latency by up to 65% on the east-to-west route.  

Bayobab CEO, Frédéric Schepens said: “Guided by the belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life, we see the provision of digital infrastructure as critical in driving digital transformation, weaving African countries together and connecting them to the rest of the world.”    

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