Umoja: Google’s new undersea cable to link Kenya with Australia

American technology giant, Google, has announced plans to invest in a new fibre optic cable anchored in Kenya as well as help the country secure its eCitizen platform.

Umoja which will be Google’s second undersea cable in Africa after Equiano, linking the continent to the rest of the world will run through Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa before crossing the Indian Ocean to Australia.

The new investment is further expected to strengthen the country’s digital infrastructure after recent damage on two subsea cables suffered causing internet disruption in the country.

“The new intercontinental fiber 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,” said President William Ruto who is current on a State visit in the United States.

Umoja which is Kenya’s seventh undersea cable linking the country to other regions will also be the first ever fiber optic route to directly connect Africa with Australia.

Google says Umoja’s terrestrial path was built in collaboration with Liquid Technologies to form a highly scalable route through Africa, including access points that will allow other countries to take advantage of the network.

“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.

The investment will also support the continent in harnessing internet economy which is projected to reach $180 billion in two years to account for 5.2pc of the continent’s gross domestic product.

“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” stated Strive Masiyiwa, Chairman and founder of Liquid.

Google has lined up to $1 billion worth of investment to help boost Africa’s digital transformation targeting infrastructure development, skills expansion and enabling a vibrant startup ecosystem.

Additionally, Ministry of Information Communications and the Digital Economy will sign a Statement of Collaboration with Google to accelerate joint efforts in cybersecurity, growing data-driven innovation, digital upskilling, and responsibly and safely deploying AI for societal benefits.

Google will also collaborate with the Department of Immigration and Citizen Services to evaluate Google Cloud’s CyberShield solution and Mandiant expertise to strengthen the defence of Kenya’s eCitizen platform.

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