African ministers to sign on fibre-project protocol

Eastern and Southern African communication ministers are going to sign the official protocol for the region's ICT broadband infrastructure network, that includes the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy), by month-end.

EASSy, a New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) initiative, is a 9 900-km-long undersea fibre-optical system, which aims at bridging the digital divide by linking more than 20 coastal and landlocked countries in East and Southern Africa. Some 23 ministers, including South Africa's communications minister, Dr Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, will meet in Rwanda on August 28 and 29 to sign the official protocol. The ceremony will enable the project steering committee to fast-track implementation of the Nepad ICT broadband infrastructure network, including the construction of the EASSy cable from Mtunzini, South Africa, to Port Sudan, in Sudan. The EASSy project connects Burundi, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, with the aim of increasing accessibility to Information and Communication Technologies by reducing the current prohibitive cost of telephony and Internet connectivity.