The liberalization and privatization process of Sudan’s communication sector is on the right track, according to the country’s Information and Communications Minister Al-Zahawi Ibrahim Malik. He said the African country which has nine neighbours on its borders had also taken various steps to develop its communication system, particularly with neighboring countries.

Sudan was planning to have fibre-optic cable connection to Eritrea, Al-Zahawi said at a press conference here. Being Africa’s largest country with 35 million population, Sudan planned to build fibre-optic cable connections with Chad and Cameroon, he said. Sudan currently has fibre-optic cable connections with Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Al-Zahawi said fibre-optic cable connections boosted international communication flow with high speed and Internet services, providing a better environment for foreign investors. He said a river cable system to Uganda and from there to Rwanda was also in the pipeline.

Sudan currently has 16,000 kilometres of fibre-optic cable connections with about 13,000 kilometres under Sudanese Telecommunications Ltd (Sudatel). A total of 27 universities in the country have fibre-optic cable connections, Al-Zahawi said.

He also said that the liberalization of the communication sector had made it more easy for the private sector to invest in the fast-growing sector. "The government is only concerned with giving out licences and supervising performance of the communication companies," he added.

Al-Zahawi said the privatization process had also caught up with television and radio services with the Sudanese government granting licences for radio stations to be owned either by individuals or private enterprises.

"Currently we are thinking seriously of enacting laws to liberalize TV and radio transmission, giving more opportunities for the private sector to play a more effective role," he said. Al-Zahawi said the next step was to expand TV coverage to cover the whole country and in this context, the government has an integrated plan of action.

Sudan Tribune