Wednesday , June 12 2024
Google Connects Africa and Australia with "Umoja" Cable Project

Google Connects Africa and Australia with Umoja Cable Project

Google announced a major infrastructure project, “Umoja Cable,” which will bring the first-ever direct fiber optic connection between Africa and Australia. Umoja, meaning “unity” in Swahili, aims to significantly improve internet reach and reliability across Africa.

The Umoja cable route will start in Kenya and travel through Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa before reaching Australia. This path, designed in collaboration with Liquid Technologies, will include access points for other countries to join the network.

Umoja is part of Google’s wider Africa Connect initiative, which also includes the Equiano subsea cable. This new route signifies a crucial step towards a more resilient internet infrastructure for Africa, a region prone to outages on existing connectivity routes.

The project received praise from leaders across Africa and Australia. Meg Whitman, U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, highlighted the project’s significance for Kenya’s digital transformation and its cascading benefits across the region. Kenyan President, H.E. Dr. William S. Ruto, welcomed Google’s investment, emphasizing its role in boosting digital inclusion and economic opportunities. Australian Minister for Communications, Hon Michelle Rowland MP, echoed the sentiment, acknowledging the project’s contribution to global digital inclusion.

Strive Masiyiwa, Chairman and founder of Liquid Technologies, expressed his pride in the project. He believes Umoja cable project will transform major African cities into hubs on a “data superhighway,” with the potential to significantly increase internet traffic capacity.

Beyond infrastructure, Google announced a Statement of Collaboration with Kenya’s Ministry of Information Communications and The Digital Economy. This collaboration focuses on cybersecurity, data-driven innovation, digital skills development, and responsible AI deployment for social good.

One example of this cybersecurity collaboration is Google Cloud’s potential involvement with Kenya’s Department of Immigration & Citizen Services. Google Cloud’s CyberShield solution and Mandiant expertise could strengthen the department’s eCitizen platform defense mechanisms.

Google’s commitment to Africa’s digital transformation extends beyond infrastructure. Since opening its first Sub-Saharan Africa office in Nairobi in 2007, Google has partnered with various African governments on digital initiatives. In 2021, Google pledged $1 billion investment in Africa over five years to support connectivity, startups, and overall digital growth. They have already invested over $900 million and expect to fulfill their commitment by 2026.

Estimates suggest that Google’s products and services generated over $30 billion of economic activity in Sub-Saharan Africa between 2021 and 2023. The continent’s internet economy has the potential to reach $180 billion by 2025, according to a report by the International Finance Corporation. Investments like Umoja cable project, coupled with workforce development initiatives, aim to empower citizens and businesses, ultimately fostering sustainable economic growth.

About Bukola Olanrewaju

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