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West African states sign deal to manage international fibre network

Hamadoun Touré Mali.jpg

Four neighbouring west African countries — Guinea, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal — are linking the fibre infrastructure that is provided by an energy management company.

Sonatel, the incumbent operator of Senegal, and ICT company Envol Technology, will manage the network under an agreement signed in Bamako, the capital of Mali.

Hamadoun Touré (pictured), Mali’s minister of communications and digital economy, said: “I hope that this will allow lower internet and communications prices, and this partnership will add value to the digital ecosystem. This network of cables will be connected to the large submarine network, which will put our country on the same level as the countries by the sea.”

Touré, who began his career as an Intelsat satellite engineer, later spent eight years as secretary general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN agency based in Geneva.

The contract with Sonatel and Envol was agreed with Sogem, the energy management company for the four countries. Guinea, Mali and Mauritania all share borders with land-locked Mali. Dakar, the coastal capital of Senegal, is the landing site for a number of existing and planned subsea cables.

Sogem’s terrestrial fibre network stretches 1,728km across the four countries.

Envol secretary general Harouna Diakité said the project “aims to develop a modern, reliable, very high-speed regional telecommunications infrastructure. It relies on a terrestrial optical fibre network coupled with submarine cables, thus offering secure international connectivity.”