EASSy cable wins key global finance

Reflecting the more confident atmosphere surrounding negotiations over the future of the East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy), two key sources of finance have indicated that they will support this project.

Both the World Bank and its private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) are to supply finance for a system which can revolutionise African telecoms (see previous EASSy reports on Developing Telecoms).

IFC officials have conducted far-reaching negotiations with stakeholders and share their fellow stake-holders' optimism that more international organisations will come up with plans to assist EASSy. While the structure of the project has been agreed on by the relevant governments, the New Partnership for Africa's e-Africa Commission, and various telecoms operators and financial institutions, financing the project has fallen to the World Bank and the IFC, along with French Development Bank (AfD), PROPARCO, the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and KfW Entwicklungsbank (KFW). Cost of the financial support is estimated at US$300 million.

 The movement towards consensus has accelerated since agreement on procedures was attained at a recent meeting in Nairobi . A joint task force representing each of the key stakeholder groups was created to maintain dialogue and channel governmental objectives into agreements covering both construction and maintenance and shareholders' interests.

* EASSy intends to connect over 20 coastal and land-locked countries in Eastern and Southern Africa: Burundi, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. March 2008 is the deadline for services to commence.


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