Medusa Project To Bridge North Africa With 8.7K Submarine Cable

By Broadcast Media Africa
July 8, 2024

The EU-backed Medusa project aims to revolutionise digital connectivity in the Mediterranean region by establishing an 8,700 km submarine cable linking North African countries—Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt—and promising 5G internet access by 2026.

In December 2023, Benghazi’s seafront, known for parkour, was chosen as a pivotal landing site for the cable, connecting southern Europe with North Africa and potentially extending to Asia.

Historically, North Africa needs a more unified submarine cable infrastructure, leaving Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya with outdated, low-bandwidth connections compared to Morocco and Egypt’s better links to Europe and Asia. The Medusa cable, expected to be operational in the eastern Mediterranean by 2025 and fully completed by 2026, aims to fill this gap amid soaring internet demand.

Despite geopolitical and economic challenges—such as strained Algeria-Morocco relations and Libyan civil war—the project, supported by $370 million from the EU and European Investment Bank under the $320 billion Global Gateway strategy, is set to become the first submarine cable connecting all five North African countries.

Miguel Angel Acero of AFR-IX Telecom describes Medusa as a “carriers’ carrier,” providing infrastructure for telecom companies without competing directly. This model, funded by the EU, aims to minimise regional conflicts.

While the cable will boost internet capacity and aid the 5G rollout, due to market dynamics, it may take longer to lower costs. However, it could pave the way for future digital growth and data centre development, particularly in Morocco, where Tunisia and Algeria face regulatory hurdles.

Despite challenges, Medusa represents a significant step toward bridging North Africa’s digital divide, positioning the region for greater integration into the global digital economy.

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