Algeria, Nigeria eager to complete trans-Saharan fibre project


Nigeria and Algeria have committed to complete the 4,500km trans-Saharan fibre optic cable project, connecting Algiers to Abuja.

The project will secure 2,800km of network for Algeria, 900km for Niger and 800km for Nigeria, and is being financed through the African Development Bank (ADB) and the EU, providing US$80 million and €29 million respectively.

Deliverables include the deployment of fibre optic on sections of the Trans-Sahara Highway (TSH) interconnecting Algeria in the north, Nigeria in the South and Chad to the West; construction by extension and commissioning of a National Data Centre on the site of the High Commission for New Technologies in Information and Communication in Niamey, as well as in N'Djamena on the AGETIC site in Chad.

The project also covers the deployment of solar energy systems and IT equipment for ten community centres located along the project's Chadian road sections, repairs to- and upgrading of fibre optic at the junctions with Burkina Faso and Benin.

The Algeria section of the project has been completed by Algeria Telecoms and is fully operational. The feasibility study for Chad, funded by ADB for 200 million CFA, has been completed, while the study for Niger was completed in 2016.

In February 2017, Niger secured funding of €43.9 million (US$46.7 million) from the ADB to complete their part of the ridge. The loan for this project consists of an amount of €31.4 million (US$33.4 million) and a grant of €12.5 million euros (US$13.3 million).

Once completed, it will be extended to Nigeria.

Although the entire project was scheduled for completion by December 2018, there have been no further updates on relevant time-frames.

The project aims to support the development of e-trade, mobile financial services and e-administration by reducing the cost of access to ICT services.