Fibre optic cable linking Kenya and South Sudan Commences


Kenya and South Sudan will be connected to a high-speed fibre optic cable within the next two years enhancing communication and inter-border trade.

The two governments are implementing the optic fibre cable system as part of the Eastern Africa Regional Transport, Trade and Development Facilitation Project. The project will also build a road linking the two countries from Eldoret to Lodwar and Juba. A common border post will also be built at the interconnection of the two countries.

South Sudan will similarly extend the cable from the Kenya-South Sudan border to Juba.

"As you are all aware, roads and information superhighways are two of the most effective means of realizing accelerated development of any modern economy. Today we are witnessing the implementation of both at the same time in this region. A big dream comes true," says Robert Mugo, Director, Shared Services at the ICT Authority.

The Director was speaking at the project commissioning event organised by the Ministry of Roads and infrastructure at Lodwar town to inaugurate the project on the ground. The meeting brought teams from the implementing agencies which include ICT Authority, KENHA (Kenya National Highways Authority), Turkana and West Pokot County Governments, Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure as well as World Bank.

The ICT Authority is implementing the Kenyan-side of the project through a World Bank fund estimated at a cost of USD 25.5 million dollars,while the Sudan side is estimated to cost USD 15 million dollars. The road construction between Lokichar and Nedapal is worth USD 500 million dollars and will be funded by World Bank. The full cost of the road construction from Eldoret to Sudan border is an estimated USD 1.2 million dollars.

The real construction work will start in May 2016 and will be completed in February 2019.

Once completed, the two countries are set to benefit from fast movement of goods and people and enhanced internet connectivity. The connectivity will be used by towns and facilities along the corridor including schools, hospitals, Government offices and telecommunications operators.

"This development will increase inter-border trade between Kenya and South Sudan as well as link Turkana County to the rest of Kenya. We see the prices of commodities coming down," said Mr Joseph Nanok, the Governor Turkana County.

It will also provide Last Mile Fibre Connectivity to County Headquarters from the Backbone and also provide network redundancy for existing links. 

The towns of Lokichogio, Kakuma, Lokichar, Lodwar, Kitale, Eldoret will benefit from an upgrade of existing Internet points.

"We are calling on the residents to protect this infrastructure against vandals and other anti-development agents that are likely to interfere with the cables by immediately reporting such incidents to the authorities," said Mr Mugo.

He further called on the counties in the area to reach out to private sector investors. The counties along the corridor are Usian Gishu, West Pokot and Turkana.

The approach of implementing fibre and road construction at the same time is a new government initiative of integrated infrastructure development that is expected to save costs and speed up development.

Kenya through the Ministry of ICT has already entered into an MOU with South Sudan through the Ministry of Telecommunications and Postal Services on January 23, 2015 in relation to the construction of the fibre optic cable that will interconnect both countries.
Source: Press Release