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Date: 15/05/2012

The West African Cable System (WACS) launched in Cape Town at the weekend is set to see sub-Saharan Africa through an information and communication technology (ICT) revolution.

The 17200km marine cable, which is to be managed by a consortium of 12 companies, stretches from South Africa to the UK linking 14 countries: South Africa, Namibia, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cape Verde, the Canary Islands, Portugal and the UK.

The consortium said in a statement the operation offered the highest capacity sub-marine cable system through sub-Saharan Africa and would be the first direct access to global communication networks for Namibia, DRC, Togo and Republic of Congo.

The cable, worth $650m (R5.26bn), will help lower the cost of broadband access and contribute to the establishment of e-education and e-health in Africa.

The consortium said increased access to lower cost broadband would improve digital connections, create new education opportunities, stimulate new business and overall improve the lives of Africans through its contribution to job creation directly through the WACS system and indirectly through the opportunities it will inspire.

Adrian Moss, chairperson of the WACS management committee, said the system would greatly benefit African economies.

“The sheer volume of capacity now being delivered will contribute to further fostering broadband development, giving impetus to African economies and helping to increase the standard and quality of life,” he said.

Moss said the system was capable of delivering high-quality performance with a fast information processing ability and was suitably stable. The launch made 560 GBS (gigabytes per second) of the 5.12 TBPS (terrabytes per second) available to investors.