Telecommunications transformation and managed services provider Tata Communications Transformation Services Limited (TCTS) has partnered with Africa Development Solutions (ADS Group) to build Africa's fibre infrastructure backbone, inter-connect national fibre backbones, domesticate Africa's voice and data traffic and 'build a single digital Africa'.
The partners say the first step is to jointly coordinate the delivery of the 'Western African Digital Pool', which consists of deploying internet connectivity over seven African countries, including Guinea-Conakry, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra-Leone, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia and Mali.
This first phase incorporates six borders across Guinea, and will begin with the first inter-border connectivity between Guinea and Sierra Leone.
This project will be conducted in conjunction with the Smart Africa Alliance, launched in 2013 by several African heads of state with the objective to drive the continent's digital transformation.
It is scheduled to be completed in the next three months, according to TCTS.
"Proposed technologies may include aerial fibre and free space optical cables to ensure fast deployment, and best quality at affordable prices. TCTS and ADS plan to deliver the required infrastructure upon completion of the preliminary studies, currently undergoing the first phase," reads a statement by the companies.
TCTS' Building a Single Digital Africa outlines the continent's digital readiness and references 2017 statistics from Internet World Stats, according to which Africa's internet penetration was at 27.7% (against the world average of 49.6%), with only 6% of Africans having broadband internet access.
The report states: "An internet revolution can boost GDP to 10%, that's $300-billion by 2025."
Madhusudhan Mysore, Executive Chairman and chief executive officer, Tata Communications Transformation Services said: "Over the past few years, ICT has emerged as a significant contributor to the African economy. At TCTS, we see this as an important landmark in the evolution of digital economy in Africa as connectivity becomes a prerequisite to the socio-economic development of the continent. Our partnership with ADS will further strengthen TCTS' presence in Africa and enable us to contribute more broadly in the knowledge sharing and nation building initiatives."
Samba Bathily, Founder and CEO of Africa Development Solutions, added: "It is great to see that a renowned expert in ICT networks deployment like TCTS is ready to further commit to Africa's development. We therefore look forward to working with TCTS teams and bring them our field experience and our own expertise in project assessment, management and financing. ICT access will be a game-changer and a growth-driver for the continent. We just need the infrastructure to create economic opportunities for our communities and unleash African talent and creativity."