At the recently held International Telecoms Week (ITW), there was a "Africa Panel Session" at which some of the continent's telecommunications experts discussed the importance of infrastructure investments in African Internet exchanges and terrestrial networks as being instrumental to facilitating the development and growth of Africa’s digital economy. The event was held in Atlanta, USA from 23 June 2019 to 26 June 2019.

The 2019 Africa Panel session at ITW co-sponsored by MainOne continues to   provide a platform for key global players to share perspectives on the opportunities and challenges of telecoms development on the African   continent.

“Our immediate focus is to ensure we have fibre to the towers, fiber to schools, health care facilities, and other government agencies, fiber to the enterprise/business districts, and with a density to reach within 1km of the majority of citizens in Lagos. We envisage having network density whereby over 60% of the population is within 1km of fibre access with the planned deployment," said Funke Opeke, CEO of MainOne, when speaking on the Africa Panel Session.

Africa Panel Session, Left to right –Lanre Kolade; Group CEO CSquared; Arthur Mendes, Sales & Marketing Director, Angola Cables; Funke Opeke, CEO, MainOne; Chris Wood, CEO, WIOCC.

For several years now there has been an increase in subsea fiber cables connecting Africa on either coast to the rest of the world. However, what has been somewhat lacking has been terrestrial fiber cables across the continent or in individual countries.

This is slowly changing. One notable terrestrial fiber project is Liquid Telecom's One Africa broadband network. Recently the One Africa broadband network, the fiber network that runs from Cape Town to Cairo, added South Sudan to its network.

The Africa Panel Session included representation from MainOne, Google, Avanti Plc, Angola Cables, CSquared Africa, and WIOCC. The dialogue centered on the idea that the development of the terrestrial network is key to growing the digital economies of all African countries.

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