By Alois Vinga
UNITED KINGDOM-based Zimbabwean business magnate, Strive Masiyiwa’s firm, Liquid Intelligent Technologies has partnered with Facebook in a landmark fibre network expansion project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The project will also connect the East and West Africa regions, and in the process improve internet access to over 30 million people in that part of the continent.
“Today I am excited to share the news that Liquid Intelligent Technologies and Facebook have agreed to partner to build a fibre network in the DRC to help connect East and West Africa by land. This partnership will improve internet access for more than 30 million people across Central Africa!” Masiyiwa said in an update.
He said Facebook will invest in the fibre build and support network planning, while Liquid will own, build and operate the fibre network.
Liquid will also provide wholesale services to mobile network operators and internet service providers.
The network is expected to help create a digital corridor from the Atlantic Ocean through the Congo rainforest, the second-largest rainforest after the Amazon, into East Africa, and then onward to the Indian Ocean.
This new corridor will connect the DRC to its neighbouring countries including Angola, Congo Brazzaville, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
Liquid will also employ more than 5 000 people from local communities to build the fibre network.
Liquid Intelligent Technologies group chief executive, Nic Rudnick said the partnership will bridge the technology gap.
“This is one of the most difficult fibre builds ever undertaken, crossing more than 2 000 kilometres of some of the most challenging terrain in the world,” Rudnick said.
“Liquid Technologies and Facebook have a common mission to provide affordable infrastructure to bridge connectivity gaps, and we believe our work together will have a tremendous impact on internet accessibility across the region.”
Facebook’s director of network investments Ibrahima Ba said the mammoth task of deploying fibre to this region would improve connectivity.
“We know that deploying fibre in this region is not easy, but it is a crucial part of extending broadband access to under-connected areas. We look forward to seeing how our fibre build will help increase the availability and improve the affordability of high-quality internet in the DRC,” he said.
Liquid Intelligent Technologies is present in more than 20 countries, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa.
It has firmly established itself as the leading provider of digital infrastructure with an extensive network covering over 100 000 kilometres.