Liquid Telecom to invest R5.6bn in Egypt

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Strive Masiyiwa, founder and executive chairman of Liquid Telecom's parent company Econet.
Strive Masiyiwa, founder and executive chairman of Liquid Telecom's parent company Econet.

Pan-African telecoms group, Liquid Telecom, has announced it is investing $400 million (R5.6 billion) in Egypt over the next three years, following the completion of its 'Cape to Cairo' link. This is part of a major partnership with Telecom Egypt, which includes network infrastructure and data centres.

The investment commitment was made during a signing ceremony between the two companies on 8 December at the Africa 2018 Forum, in Egypt. The agreement was signed by Ahmed El Beheiry, CEO of Telecom Egypt, and Strive Masiyiwa, executive chairman of Liquid Telecom's parent company, Econet.

Telecom Egypt will use the expanded network to connect Egyptian businesses to the rest of Africa, while also partnering with Liquid Telecom to build data centres across Egypt.

Following an initial investment of $50 million (R706 million) in data centres and cloud services, Liquid Telecom plans to invest an additional $350 million (R4.9 billion) in broadband and financial inclusion initiatives, as well as high-capacity data centres. These will be similar to some of the best-in-class data centres in SA, Liquid Telecom says.

This follows an agreement in July with Telecom Egypt to mark the completion of Liquid Telecom's 'Cape to Cairo' network. This network represents the first direct land-based terrestrial fibre link from Cape Town, South Africa to Cairo, Egypt.

The $400 million investment will enable Liquid Telecom to significantly expand its position as a connectivity and cloud solutions provider in North Africa, the company says, serving businesses in the region with "world-class network and data centre services".

"Through its data centre offering, Africa Data Centres (ADC), Liquid Telecom is facilitating the growth of Africa's cloud by providing a platform for cloud services to be delivered locally in many markets for the first time," the group says in a statement.

According to Masiyiwa, the next mission is to complete a link between Cairo and Dakar, Senegal through Sudan, Chad and Nigeria, as well as the rest of West Africa.

"We have already crossed Africa from East to West through Sudan and Chad. We are at the Nigerian border and we expect to reach Abuja by the end of January, in time for the AU Summit. We want to reach Dakar before [Egyptian] president [Abdel Fattah] El-Sisi finishes his term," Masiyiwa says.

Liquid Telecom's expanding network is almost 70 000km in length and is linked to more than 600 towns and cities in 13 countries across Africa. It is also part of the wider 'One Africa' broadband network, which has been strongly supported by the African Union leadership.

Liquid Telecom's African fibre map.
Liquid Telecom's African fibre map.
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