Google Announces Umoja, its first Africa-Australia Fiber Optic Cable to be Anchored in Kenya

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It is indeed great news for the Kenyan IT sector as Google introduces Umoja its first Africa-Australia Fiber Optic Cable that is set to directly link Africa to Australia, in order to increase the reach and reliability of the digital economy and connectivity for Africa.

The terrestrial path of Umoja was established in collaboration with Liquid Technologies to form a highly scalable route through Africa, which includes access points that will enable other countries to utilize the network.

Umoja which is the Swahili word for unity, joins Equiano in an initiative known as Africa Connect. The Umoja project is set to enable countries in Africa to network more reliably with each other and also the rest of the world. Setting up a new route that is unique from the existing connectivity routes is crucial to maintaining a network that is more resilient for a region that has historically gone through high-impact outages.

Countries that Africa-Australia Fiber Optic Umoja Cable will be Passing Through

Expected to be anchored in Kenya, the Umoja cable will be passing through Uganda, Rwanda, DRC, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and lastly South Africa, inclusive of the Google Cloud region, before crosiing Indian Ocean to Australia.

In the reactions of the African countries, they have expressed their gratitude to Google for its ambitious efforts to connect Africa to people, businesses, and even the governments in the African region and globally.

US Ambassador to Kenya, Meg Whitman revealed in a statement by saying, “Access to the latest technology, with the support by reliable and resilient digital infrastructure, is a crucial aspect to growing and developing economic opportunity. This is indeed a meaningful moment for the digital transformation of Kenya and the benefits of this day’s announcement will cascade across the whole region.”

Kenya’s president H.E. Dr. William Samoei Ruto, stated, “ I am very delighted to welcome this investment by Google in digital connectivity, marking a very key historic milestone for Kenya, Africa, and also Australia. This new intercontinental fiber optic cable is expected to greatly enhance both our global and digital infrastructure.”

Significance of Google’s Umoja Initiative to Africa

This initiative is very key in ensuring the redundancy and resilience of the connectivity of the African region to the rest of the world especially considering the recent disruptions that were brought about by the cuts in the sub-sea cables. By strengthening the digital backbone of the African region, there will not only be an improvement in reliability but also paving way for the increased digital inclusion, innovation, and lastly economic opportunities for people in the African region and their businesses.

The Minister of Communications of Australia, Hon. Michelle Rowland MP, added by saying,” Diversifying the connectivity of Australia and supporting the digital inclusions globally are both very important objectives, and Google’s Umoja Cable is going to significantly help achieve that. Australia welcomes this investment by Google and congratulates all the stakeholders involved in participating in this very crucial initiative.”

Lastly, the Chairman and founder of Liquid, Strive Masiyiwa commented by saying,” The major cities of Africa inclusive of Nairobi, Kampala, Kigali, Lubumbashi, Lusaka, and even Harare will soon be no longer hard-to-reach endpoints remote from the coastal landing sites that link Africa to the rest of the world. They are currently stations located on a data superhighway that are able to carry thousands of times more data traffic than the current reaches here. I am very proud that this Umoja project aids us to deliver a digitally connected future that leaves no African behind, even though they are far from the digital data centers that are distributed all over the world.”

Also read: Repairs Commence on the Undersea Cables Providing Internet to East Africa After Pressure Mounts Over Slow Internet Speeds

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