The ‘Equiano’ cable, which will extend from Portugal to South Africa, will make its maiden landing in the West African nation.
Togo will be the first nation in West Africa to get a new Google underwater internet cable connecting it to Europe, in what the tech giant and the Togolese government have dubbed a “major digital infrastructure transformation endeavor.”
The news comes months after Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai announced a five-year $1 billion commitment in Africa to assist “a variety of activities from enhanced connectivity to startup funding.”
The Togolese government and Google announced in a joint statement that the “Equiano” cable, named for Nigerian-born writer and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano, will provide millions of people in Togo and West Africa with better high-speed and cheap internet access. The landing will take place in Lome, Togo’s capital.
Togo’s minister of the digital economy and digital transformation, Cina Lawson, said the partnership demonstrates the country’s “commitment to improving public and social services for all residents to gain economically.”
Before arriving in Cape Town, South Africa, the cable is scheduled to stop through Nigeria and Namibia.
The cable would have nearly 20 times the network capacity of a previous cable created to service this area, according to Google, which originally announced the project in 2019. It’s the firm’s third private international undersea cable and the first in Africa.
The cable will be managed and maintained on Togolese land by a local firm founded by CSquared, an international open-access wholesale broadband infrastructure provider, and Societe dinfrastructureNumeriques (SIN), a public telecoms asset corporation.
Togo’s administration, led by President Faure Gnassingbe, who came to power when his father died in 2005, has lately focused on digital growth.
It established an ambitious strategy in 2020 to invest in technology to boost social assistance and economic growth. It aspires to transform Togo, a nation with an estimated population of eight million people, into a digital hotspot.
The World Bank authorized another $11 million from the International Development Association in May to “increase connectivity in Togo and expand the country’s digital economy.”
The money comes from the West Africa Regional Communications Infrastructure Program, which aims to eliminate “connectivity gaps” between 16 West African nations and the rest of the globe.
In a statement, Nitin Gajria, managing director of Google Sub-Saharan Africa, stated, “We are happy that Togo will be Equiano’s first landing on the African continent, as it matches with the country’s continued efforts to promote digital inclusivity for Africa.”
“As they continue to construct their digital infrastructure, we look forward to working closely with the Togolese government and the Ministry of Digital Economy and Transformation”