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Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Big infrastructure diplomacy “W” in African subsea cables

Telecom Egypt (TE) is planning to connect landlocked and coastal African countries to Europe through a giant subsea system that will circle all of Africa, the state-owned company said in a press release (pdf) this afternoon. The Hybrid African Ring Path (Harp), which TE is set to complete by 2023, will form two main arteries that will begin from a landing point in South Africa to points in three southern European countries. The first will run upwards from the southern tip along the east coast and into France and Italy and second along the west coast into Portugal, forming a harp-shaped structure. The company made no mention of how much the planned project is expected to cost or any other project details beyond the timeline.

TE’s 2Africa cable project will be part of Harp: The 2Africa submarine cable project — in which TE is taking part alongside seven other big names including Facebook, Vodafone, and China Mobile — will be one cable that will form the overall Harp, TE Senior IR Director Sarah Shabayek told us. The planned Harp route will branch out to a new landing point in Sharm El Sheikh and connect to several cities on the Gulf of Suez.

Background: Egypt is a hub for internet submarine cables, with a total of 13 cables landing in the country. The country’s unique geographical location linking Europe with Asia made us an ideal node, and to take advantage, TE has acquired additional stakes in submarine cables and embarked on building new cables from scratch.

DIVE DEEPER- We had a detailed look at our position as a sub-sea cable hub, and the investment needed to exploit this, in a recent issue of Hardhat, our weekly vertical on all things infrastructure. Egypt’s ambitions to emerge as a data hub was also another topic we explored in a recent three-part series by Hardhat (click/tap here for part one, part two, and part three).

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