Africa's largest fibre industry association, the FTTX Council Africa, has described the deal between Telecom Egypt and Liquid Telecom as a catalyst for economic growth on the continent.
The two companies recently committed to complete a terrestrial fibre network stretching from Cape Town, South Africa, to Cairo, Egypt.
Juanita Clark, co-founder and CEO of the FTTX Council Africa, said Liquid Telecom, an FTTX Council member, will link its network from Cape Town to Sudan with Telecom Egypt's network via a new cross-border interconnection.
This will result in a 60,000km network that runs across Africa and connects businesses to the global marketplace.
"The ongoing deployment of telecommunications infrastructure is critical to Africa's growth as it underpins economic development. Broadband connects businesses and individuals to the global marketplace. It establishes a new ways to collaborate, ways that were never before possible. Today, due to the increase in the amount of information that can be transferred between companies at a global level, companies can expand their service offering and we are witnessing SMMEs growing at faster rates, made possible by access to the internet and high speed bandwidth. Broadband is the true leveller – allowing everyone equal access to the market place, whether it be in country, or at a global level. It is very exciting times for Africa."
Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet (which owns Liquid Telecom) said, "This network not only represents a remarkable engineering achievement that has overcome some of the most challenging distances and terrains on the continent, but it is also supporting the rise of Africa's digital economies, Wherever the One Africa network has been completed we have seen dramatic increase of data traffic between nations connected to it. We expect to see a lot of traffic between Egypt and the rest of Africa. Where there is improved communications, improved trade follows as well. We need to see more trade between African countries."
Liquid Telecom and Telecom Egypt have revealed that they will share network infrastructure and aside from the deal, will explore further areas of collaboration including joint network services, a peering arrangement and a voice interconnection agreement.
Ahmed El Beheiry, Telecom Egypt's Managing Director and CEO said, "This agreement is a great step in our strategy to penetrate the African market and avail Telecom Egypt's most advanced technology and global infrastructure services to customers across Africa. We look forward to working alongside Liquid Telecom to develop new network services and products that will help stimulate intra-regional trade."
Dr. Benedict Oramah, President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), which served as financial adviser to Liquid Telecom in negotiating the agreement, said, "The rollout of infrastructure, particularly high-speed networks, is crucial for stimulating intra-regional trade. The Cape to Cairo network sets a new standard for Africa and will open-up new trade opportunities across the region."