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Google, Liquid unveil Umoja cable, linking Africa to Australia

By , Africa editor
Africa , 24 May 2024
Strive Masiyiwa, chairman and founder of Liquid Technologies.
Strive Masiyiwa, chairman and founder of Liquid Technologies.

Google and Liquid Technologies yesterday launched Umoja, a new fibre optic line connecting Africa and Australia.

The companies said their partnership on Umoja aims to expand the reach and reliability of digital connectivity throughout Africa.

According to Google, the Umoja cable route will begin in Kenya and travel through Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, including the Google Cloud region, before crossing the Indian Ocean to Australia.

Umoja's terrestrial path through Africa was constructed in conjunction with Liquid Intelligent Technologies. It also includes access points that will allow additional countries to use the network, according to Google.

The company said Umoja, the Swahili word for unity, has joined Equiano in an effort dubbed Africa Connect.

According to Google, Umoja will enable African countries to more reliably connect with each other and the rest of the world.

"Establishing a new route distinct from existing connectivity routes is critical to maintaining a resilient network for a region that has historically experienced high-impact outages," Google said.

Strive Masiyiwa, chairman and founder of Liquid, said: “Africa’s major cities including Nairobi, Kampala, Kigali, Lubumbashi, Lusaka, and Harare will no longer be hard-to-reach endpoints remote from the coastal landing sites that connect Africa to the world.

“They are now stations on a data superhighway that can carry thousands of times more traffic than currently reaches here. I am proud that this project helps us deliver a digitally connected future that leaves no African behind, regardless of how far they are from the technology centres of the world.”

For William Ruto, President of Kenya, the investment in digital connectivity marks a historic milestone for Africa, and Australia.

He commented: “The new intercontinental fibre optic route will significantly enhance our global and regional digital infrastructure. This initiative is crucial in ensuring the redundancy and resilience of our region’s connectivity to the rest of the world, especially in light of recent disruptions caused by cuts to sub-sea cables.

“By strengthening our digital backbone, we are not only improving reliability but also paving the way for increased digital inclusion, innovation, and economic opportunities for our people and businesses."

Michelle Rowland, Australia's Minister for Communications, believes that expanding Australia's connectivity and promoting global digital inclusivity are both important objectives, and Google's Umoja cable will help to achieve both.

“Access to the latest technology, supported by reliable and resilient digital infrastructure, is critical to growing economic opportunity. This is a meaningful moment for Kenya’s digital transformation journey and the benefits of today’s announcement will cascade across the region,” added Meg Whitman, U.S. Ambassador to Kenya

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