Kenya & Djibouti Conclude Initial Talks For Region’s Largest Undersea Fiber Optic Cable

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Kenya and Djibouti concluded initial negotiations for what could be the sub-region’s largest undersea fiber optic cable, according to the East African nation’s government.

That could pave the way for manufacturers to produce materials required for the 4,000 kilometer (2,485 miles)-linkage between the countries, Kenya’s ICT and Innovation Principal Secretary, Jerome Ochieng’, said in a statement, jointly released with Telkom Kenya Ltd. The Kenyan government holds 40 percent of Helios Investment Partners LLP’s Telkom.

The Djibouti African Regional Express 1 or DARE 1, with capacity of 36 terabytes, will be nine times larger than the existing East African Submarine Cable System, and is expected to boost internet connectivity and digitization of the economy, Ochieng’ said.

Designs for the cable and schedule of implementation were agreed with a target to land it on Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa in the first quarter of 2020, according to the statement. Next steps might involve recruiting new investors into the project, Telkom said in an emailed response to questions, declining to mention how much the company is investing in the conduit.

“The cable comes at a time when most cables are coming to the end of their life, which usually ranges between 15 to 20 years,” Telkom Chief Executive Officer Mugo Kibati said in an earlier statement on Thursday.

Telkom, which manages Kenya’s inland fiber backbone, has interests in existing marine cables including a 23 percent stake in the 5,000-kilometer (3,106.8 miles) East African Marine System which connects to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates. Safaricom Plc., East Africa’s largest company by valuation, controls 32.5 percent of that cable, according to its 2018 annual report.

Reporting By  with assistance by John Bowker

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