DRC: Orange, Airtel Oversee Meta’s 2Africa Cable
By Quentin Velluet, The Africa Report
September 26, 2023
The two operators have formed a joint venture Mawezi, which will oversee the management of the optical fibre cable landing station in Muanda, near the mouth of the Congo River.
A new underwater optical fibre cable will connect the DRC to the rest of the world. On 21 September, the 2Africa cable, led by the Meta consortium (formerly Facebook), landed on a beach in Muanda, in the Kongo Central province.
The high-speed infrastructure is set to become operational by the end of 2024. Managed by a joint venture called Mawezi, set up by telecoms operators Orange and Airtel, its commercialisation will kick off in the first quarter of 2025.
At its helm is Laetitia Molasoko N’Singa, former director of legal and regulatory affairs for Orange in the DRC.
N’Singa will be responsible for assembling a team to secure “all the necessary authorisations prior to the cable landing, construction of the landing station, and operation of the station in an open access mode to provide all internet stakeholders with these additional international capabilities,” as stated in a joint press release by the two operators.
Faster, more stable connection
The arrival of 2Africa in the DRC comes as a relief, as the country had previously been completely dependent on a single international cable that had connected it until now.
Users have frequently experienced outages or slowed connections due to numerous accidental cable disruptions over the past decade. The most recent incident occurred in early August and could only be repaired on 21 September, the very day 2Africa arrived on the Congolese coast.
Launched in 2012, the West Africa Cable System (WACS) with a capacity of 14.5 terabits per second (Tbit/s) is also much less powerful than 2Africa, which provides a capacity of 180 Tbit/s and will thus streamline connections in the country.