Tuesday, June 02, 2009

AfDB supports MainOne submarine cable with N9.7bn

African Development Bank Group (AfDB), last weekend, approved financing worth USD 66 million (about N9,748,530,000) for the submarine cable being built by Main One Cable Company to facilitate deployment of fibre optic cable connection along the West African coast.

With this investment, AfDB has further affirmed its support for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) on the continent of Africa, having earlier support investments in the East African “EaSSy” submarine cable and the two satellites Rascom and New Dawn.

ITRealms Online recalls that Main One cable project is expected to gulp the sum of USD 240 million, involving the laying of 7,000 Kilometres of submarine fibre optic cable between Seixal (a suburb of Lisbon) in Portugal, Accra in Ghana, and Lagos in Nigeria, respectively.

Confirming this, AfDB Private Sector Director, Mr. Tim Turner, said the project’s main positive outcomes is based on its strong infrastructure development effects.

“By dramatically lowering the cost of ICT services, annual cost savings to West African consumers will range from USD 30 million in the early years to USD 160 million within 10 years,” he projected.

According to him, Main One project aligns closely with the bank’s infrastructure orientation and private sector development strategy, and the ICT Strategy for 2008-2010 in particular.

“Specifically, the project is congruent with the Bank’s Country Strategy Papers (CSP) for Nigeria and Ghana, both of which underscore private sector intervention in the infrastructure space,” he said, stressing that the ties between the bank and MainOne brings to the fore implementation in tandem with the medium- to long-term strategic framework of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

In her remark, chief executive officer, Main One Cable Company, Ms Funke Opeke said they are elated for the approval by AfDB and additional impetus it would bring to the submarine cable project.

“This tranche of financing again underscores the confidence which key stakeholders repose on the Main One project, and our commitment to conclude the first phase of this project in mid-2010 as promised,” she said, stressing that Main One cable project has recorded considerable progress that signposts a clear commitment to on-time project completion.

Opeke said, manufacturing of cable and sophisticated electronics within the submerged repeaters are also proceeding ahead of plan.

“The various suppliers on the Main One project are working steadily towards realizing the vital goal of on-time completion of a unique initiative that is expected to breathe a new life of vibrancy and reduced cost into the broadband penetration regime in West Africa and subsequently, all over Africa,” she said.

ITRealms Online recalls that last December it was the beneficiary of the first ever submarine cable landing licenses to be awarded by Nigeria and Ghana respectively, even as last March saw the completion of the 27 kilometre in-shore survey operation near Portugal, and has since commenced its main route survey operations.

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