How 2Africa Subsea Cable landing in Nigeria can propel regional ecosystem growth

This article was contributed to TechCabal by Uche Aniche.

2Africa project is a Subsea Cable connecting three continents and about 33 countries in Africa, including Nigeria. At 45,000km, it is the world’s longest submarine cable and is expected to connect about 1.3 billion people and deepen 4G and 5G Internet penetration to more remote locations. 

The subsea cable, owned by 2Africa Consortium —led by Meta— has now reached the shores of Nigeria through Lagos and Akwa Ibom states. The Akwa Ibom landing location which is managed by MainOne is at Ibeno and feelers suggest Rivers and Akwa Ibom states are the main focus for now. Doors are however open for other states in the region if enough interest is generated. 

Here are the top five ways I believe this represents a game changer for the extended business communities in general and the startup ecosystem within the regions in particular:

Improved & Faster Internet Connection

The deep-sea cable project will connect 32 other African countries and directly support economic development in Africa. This will foster further growth of 4G and 5G and increase broadband penetration to millions of people and businesses across the continent. At 180 terabytes per second, this will deliver high-speed internet to homes, offices, government institutions, and others in the region.

Speedup Economic Growth

According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU global study), it was estimated that on average, an increase of 10% in mobile broadband penetration yielded an increase of 1.5% in GDP. We expect this cable landing and subsequent last-mile distribution activities to further grow the economy of the regions in particular and Nigeria by extension. 

Talent Attraction & Rapid Growth of the Startup Ecosystem

We expect more companies to set up in the region leading to more talents choosing to live and work here. This will have some ramifications for the economy of the region but more importantly, it would attract and deliver more experienced professionals to the startup ecosystem, some of whom could become founders or work in some of the innovative startups that call the region home. This would also attract more investors.

Affordable Internet Access

We expect increased competition to lead to affordable Internet access. The 2Africa Cable will bring the total number of cable landings in Nigeria to seven. However, it is the only subsea cable to successfully land on the southern coast of Nigeria designed to deliver more than the total combined capacity of all subsea cables currently serving Africa at a capacity of up to 180 terabytes per second (Tbps).

Job Creation & Youth Engagement

The Cable landing will create hundreds —and probably thousands— of direct jobs via the rise of last-mile Internet service providers that are required to get Internet connections direct to homes and offices. Many more direct and indirect jobs will be created through several new Internet-enabled businesses such as data centres, cloud companies, and outsourcing agencies, among others. Additionally, affordable Internet will lead to more engaged young people who will connect and plug into several Internet-based opportunities and commercial recreational activities such as e-sports and gaming.

Uche is the Convener of #StartupSouth, an organization that promotes and advocates for the development of the startup ecosystem in the South-South/South-East region of Nigeria.

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