Last Saturday, Chinese firm Huawei began work on installing 4,000km of fiber-optic cable in Guinea to provide its residents with high-speed Internet access, reports CIO.
The $238 million project, financed largely by China's Eximbank, will take around two years to complete and will see the creation of 77 exchange points. Currently, around five million of Guinea's 11 million inhabitants own a mobile phone, yet less than 2% have Internet access. The new cable will make Guinea the first country in West Africa to benefit from such widespread coverage.
According to a statement from the Guinean president's office, the installation of the new cable will benefit individuals as well as businesses, schools and local administrations. Also, around 20,000 jobs are likely to be created as a result of the project.
At present, the majority of fiber-optic cables in Guinea are owned by private telecoms operators, though this project will be overseen by the government. It is hoped that, following the installation, the project will go on to serve other countries in the region.
The ACE (Africa Coast to Europe) submarine cable, which connects 23 countries along Africa's west coast to Portgual and France, has a landing point in Guinea. The new project could therefore benefit the other member states of the Mano River Union (Sierra Leone, Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire). At present, Sierra Leone and Liberia are served only by the ACE. The landlocked country of Mali, which neighbors Guinea, may also find its connectivity improving once the cable has been installed.