Towards a major ICT broadband infrastructure in Africa

Towards a major ICT broadband infrastructure in Africa

The Umojanet project deals with developing and structuring regional broadband infrastructure. The project aims to enhance the regional and global connectivity of Africa and also to boost economic growth via improved access to information, services and education. It helps to bridge the digital gaps between different regions of the continent as well as internationally.

The Umojanet project is aimed at strengthening the broadband infrastructure by laying new underground and aerial cross-border fibre-optic cables or buying/renting spare capacity on existing ones. The first phase of Umojanet studied the development of the terrestrial broadband network in Southern and Eastern Africa. The second phase will look into the technical, economic and commercial feasibility of the project in Africa’s western, central and northern regions, preparing the basis for the participation of investors and other financiers. Infrastructure network projects on this scale require thorough planning and considerable investment, which is why full feasibility studies are necessary.

The technical assistance grant from the Infrastructure Trust Fund (ITF) will be used for the purposes of studying the detailed technical and commercial feasibility assessment, full network design and a business plan for West, Central and North Africa. It will identify existing fibre-optic infrastructures in the 29 countries concerned, the gaps in the proposed routes, flows within the network, costs, etc. The study should provide an optimum network in terms of network economics, configuration and costs, including a clear definition of interface mechanisms with neighbouring networks.

Prior to Umojanet came the implementation of the Uhurunet underwater ring network project. Uhurunet and Umojanet will be interconnected both with each other and the international network. The projects are part of the NEPAD conceptual approach to a seamless ICT broadband infrastructure network for the African continent.

In April 2010 the ITF allocated a grant of € 1.35 million out of a grand total of € 208.9 million for operations approved during the 2007-10 period.