South Sudan detailed its plan on developing an infrastructure backbone to overcome connectivity challenges associated with being a landlocked nation and become a central hub for communications in eastern Africa.
South Sudan's Ministry of ICT and Postal Services undersecretary Dr Lado Wani Kenyi said in his speech at Africa Tech Festival in Cape Town, that landlocked developing countries rely on the infrastructure of neighbours, and are unattractive to private investments due to high costs.
South Sudan also “lacks a domestic broadband backbone”, and relies on a 200km fibre cable from neighbour Uganda to connect its capital city Juba, which is “the only fibre connectivity we have in South Sudan”, said Kenyi.
The country is currently working with partners such as the World Bank to develop its own infrastructure to spur GDP growth through connectivity and aid in the recovery of the war-torn nation which only ended its seven-year-long civil war in 2020.
A key priority for South Sudan currently is sealing a connectivity route from Juba to Kenya, tapping into its developed infrastructure. Additional routes are also being discussed to connect to the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Djibouti.
Because of its location, Kenyi also laid out ambitions to be a central hub for subsea cables to connect its neighbours with the rest of the continent.
“There’s actually an advantage of being a landlocked country. We can position ourselves as a hub in Africa, we can connect the cables that are landing on the eastern coast and west coast of Africa, and as a result, we will create excellent network redundancy,” said Kenyi.