The digital giant’s fibre optic cable, which was supposed to reach first in Nigeria, has eventually selected Togo as its first African stopover. This supports the country’s goals of becoming a digital hub in West Africa.
“Togo, which was not on the list of beneficiary countries of the first cohort, was integrated after several months of negotiations and it becomes the first African country to host the cable”; rejoiced the Togolese Minister of Digital Economy and Digital Transformation, Cina Lawson; on March 18, on the quay of Togo Terminal of the autonomous port of Lomé.
The ceremony, which was presided over by Head of State Faure Gnassingbé, commemorated the arrival in Togo of the Google submarine fibre optic cable, which would connect nine African countries to the rest of Europe. a journey from Lisbon to Cape Town
“This success allows us to meet the requirements of the government roadmap on strengthening internet connection to the global network,” added the Togolese minister. The cable, “which must offer 20 times the bandwidth of any other existing cable in West Africa”; must be synonymous with an increase in internet speed; an improvement in the experience users; and a reduction in data costs of more than 14% by 2025, according to data from his ministry.
“We are delighted that Togo is the cable’s first landing point on the African continent, as it aligns with the country’s ongoing efforts to promote digital inclusion for Africa,” said Nitin Gajria, Managing Director from Google for sub-Saharan Africa.
According to a Google-sponsored research, the underwater cable will create 37,000 employment in the country and produce more than 350 million dollars in revenue between 2022 and 2025. The equipment should also allow for a significant rise in internet penetration, which is now at 23%.
While Nigeria was supposed to be the first host country, Lomé hastened talks with Google that began in 2019 by presenting its national strategy, “Togo Digital 2025,” in order to eventually get cable reception.
The Togolese business CSquared Woezon, which is owned by the SIN (44 percent) and CSquared (56 percent parent company), will take over the maintenance and operation of the latter, as well as the existing terrestrial fiber-optic networks, after the deployment is complete.
The “management and deployment of metropolitan fibre and national backbone networks across the country” will be part of these missions, according to Lanre Kolade, the CSquared group’s general manager. This could help Togo accomplish its goal of becoming a digital hub in West Africa, with connectivity to nations like Ghana, Benin, and Burkina Faso.
Until now, the country has only had access to a single cable, the WACS (West Africa Cable System), making it prone to connection problems and outages, such as in January 2020, when a malfunction caused connectivity problems for over twenty hours.
Following Lomé, the ship that hauled the cable from Lisbon to the city of Togo will cruise to Lagos, Nigeria, before heading to South Africa for general commissioning in the fourth quarter of the year.