Google has delivered a submarine cable to Togo, the first West African country to offer commercial 5G mobile phone services.
The Equiano undersea internet cable, part of Google’s $1 billion programs to build digital capacity on the continent, was connected to the country of 8 million people.
The cable is supposed to serve Nigeria, Namibia, and South Africa later this year. It also connects Africa to Europe via Portugal.
The new cable is also expected to help Togo double internet speeds by 2025. In addition to reducing internet prices by about 14 percent, according to research from Africa Practice and Genesis Analytics commissioned by Google.
Togo’s Minister of Digital Economy, Sina Lawson, said: Our vision is to become a digital hub and we need to be connected. This cable gives us a huge amount of capacity. We can sell retail capacity to other countries.
The cable once turned on, provides 20 times more bandwidth than any other country in West Africa. It also helps create nearly 37,000 new jobs by 2025.
“This kind of internet speed put you at the same level of competitiveness as your counterparts in the Western world,” said Vera Songwe, head of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
Togo has among the highest mobile data costs on content at $8.64 per GB.
Lawson said Togo hopes to attract new business and help grow the country’s startup industry by increasing internet speeds.
Google brings its new undersea cable to Africa
Togo is a logistics hub in West Africa with the largest port in the region and the headquarters of both Ecobank Transnational and Asky Airlines.
The country plans to become a regional digital hub through the national digitization program “Digital Togo 2025” which aims to boost economic development by focusing on increasing connectivity.
Google said: This step confirms our commitment to the African continent to support digital transformation in Africa. It is in line with the country’s ongoing efforts to enhance digital inclusion in Africa.
Togo became the first West African country to launch a 5G network in 2020. Internet penetration in Togo has nearly tripled in recent years. From about 7 percent in 2017 to about 20 percent in 2020.
“It comes down to the fact that we have a lot of capacity which is very cheap and very fast,” Lawson said. The price of Internet access goes down while the capacity available at home also increases.