Google’s underwater internet cable has arrived in Togo, bringing internet access to millions of people and creating 37,000 jobs in the process.
Technology giant Google and CSquared announced a new digital partnership with the Togolese Republic on Friday, March 18, 2022, in Lome, Togo, which involves the launch of ‘Equiano,’ a subsea internet cable that stretches from Portugal to South Africa, bringing 37,000 new employment by 2025.
This is Google’s first subsea cable landing in Africa and is, therefore, a unique project for both Togo and Google. Having been in the works for 3+ years, the cable will allow for much-improved access to the internet for millions of people on the continent.
The cable, which has 12 fibre pairs with a design capacity of 150Tbps, will connect Portugal to South Africa, with branches planned in Togo, Nigeria, St. Helena, DR Congo, and Namibia.
The project’s landing station in Togo, as well as its operation, is the result of a collaboration between Google, CSquared, and Togo’s public telecom body, Société d’Infrastructures Numériques (SIN). Togo owns a 44 percent ownership in the partnership, which is known as CSquared Woezon.
The corporation will be responsible for the maintenance and operation of the Equiano submarine cable, as well as the existing e-Government and Communauté Electrique du Bénin (CEB) terrestrial optic fibre networks on Togolese territory. In terms of international capacity sales, CSquared Woezon will give open access to all national and regional operators on a commercial basis that is objective, transparent, and non-discriminatory, in accordance with industry norms and international best practices.
Madam Cina Lawson, Minister of Digital Economy and Digital Transformation for Togo said: “As Togo continues to earn its place on the regional and international stage as a digital hub and a favourable ecosystem for innovation and investment, our collaboration with Google and CSquared in successfully landing Equiano further demonstrates Togo’s commitment to enhancing public and social services for all citizens so that they can benefit economically.”
Attia Byll, Managing Director of SIN, added: “We are thrilled by the opportunities that this partnership with CSquared and Google will bring to the people of Togo and the country as a whole.”
Togo’s Digital 2025 Strategy
The Republic of Togo’s digital strategy will accelerate social inclusion and economic development which will:
- Include all citizens in the society and economy through biometric identification and access to high-speed internet and technological equipment.
- Digitize public and social services to bring users closer to the public administration.
- Accelerate the transformation of the economy and make Togo a digital hub with an ecosystem of innovation and startups.
Togo’s vision is to achieve economic and social development through increased digitization. Roughly, ¾ of the forty-two projects and reforms formulated in the government’s roadmap 2020-2025 have a digital component. In order to achieve this ambition, Togo needed to elaborate a digital transformation strategy to accelerate financial inclusion and economic development. Broadband connectivity can be a powerful catalyst as well as an anchor for economic and social advancement in developing countries.
It creates jobs and business opportunities that lead to greater economic development. Considering the great benefits of broadband connectivity to individuals and businesses alike, it is crucial for emerging markets to invest in the build-out of broadband infrastructure, enabling abundant, low-cost connectivity.
Togo is already ranked sixth in Africa for ease of doing business, and Equiano, once operational, will provide 20 times more bandwidth than any other cable now reaching West Africa, assisting the country in attracting additional investments and bolstering its thriving startup culture.
According to an economic impact evaluation of Equiano in Togo conducted by Africa Practice and Genesis Analytics, the subsea cable is expected to create around 37,000 new jobs and raise Togo’s economic output by USD 351 million between 2022 and 2025.
Nitin Gajria, Managing Director of Google Sub-Saharan Africa commented, “The landing of Equiano affirms Google’s commitment to the African continent, to support Africa’s digital transformation. We are thrilled that Togo will be Equiano’s first landing on the African continent, as it aligns with the country’s continuing efforts to promote digital inclusion for Africa. We look forward to working closely with the Togolese Government and The Ministry of Digital Economy and Transformation as they continue to build their digital infrastructure.”
Lanre Kolade, CSquared Group Chief Executive Officer shared, “CSquared is honoured to be part of Togo’s Digital Strategy, a strategy focused on social inclusion and economic development that will transform the economy with accessible, safe and affordable broadband, across gender, and geography. CSquared Woezon, our joint venture with Société d’Infrastructures Numériques [SIN] will put in place the next generation of connected infrastructure on which the digital ecosystem, the economy and the government can ride. Beyond the landing of Google’s Equiano in Togo, the JV will also manage and rollout Fiber Metros and National Backbone across the country, moving Togo forward on its quest to become a digital hub in West Africa with connectivity into neighbouring countries, Ghana, Benin and Burkina Faso.”
Equiano’s arrival in Togo will strengthen the country’s ability to construct and support digital infrastructure that will help Togo’s economy in the long run, as well as its West African neighbours.