26 March 2019
Liquid Telecom plans to invest EGP8bn (USD400m) in Egypt as part of a major partnership with Telecom Egypt that includes network infrastructure and data centres.
Over a three-year period, Liquid will initially spend USD50m in data centres and cloud services. It then plans to invest a further USD350m in broadband and financial inclusion initiatives, as well as what’s described as “high capacity” data centres. The precise number and locations of these facilities have yet to be announced.
Telecom Egypt will partner with Liquid to build the data centres across the country as well as use the network to connect local businesses to the rest of Africa. Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi welcomed the development as a major milestone in connecting his country to the continent. el-Sisi said he would continue to push the initiative after he takes over from Rwandan president Paul Kagame as chair of the African Union (AU) later in 2019.
Liquid reckons this latest deal will enable it to “significantly expand” its position as a connectivity and cloud solutions provider in North Africa. The company adds that through its data centre subsidary, Africa Data Centres, it is providing a platform for cloud services to be delivered locally in many markets for the first time.
As part of the ‘One Africa’ broadband network initiative, Liquid signed a partnership agreement with Telecom Egypt last year to mark the completion of the first direct terrestrial fibre link from Cape Town to Cairo (see News, Jun-Jul 2018 issue).
Strive Masiyiwa, executive chairman of Liquid Telecom’s parent company, Econet Group, the next mission is to complete a link between Cairo and Dakar as well as the rest of West Africa. He says “We have already crossed Africa from East to West through Sudan and Chad. We are at the Nigerian border and we expect to reach Abuja by the end of January in time for the AU summit. We want to reach Dakar before president el-Sisi finishes his term.”