Président de la Commission de l’Union Africaine (depuis le 1er. février 2008)
Mauritius is the 24th latest country to join the Broadband Network, including the EASSy cable. Other countries are Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Lesotho, Botswana, Somalia, Malawi, Zambia, DRC, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Burundi, Swaziland, Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Sudan, Djibouti, Madagascar, Mauritius, and South Africa.
Currently estimated to cost USD 280 million (USD 300 million including Mauritius), the EASSy cable will run from Durban, South Africa to Port Sudan in Sudan.
Ninety percent of the equity funding is expected to be raised from within the African continent. Other sources, including the World Bank, will provide debt. The World Bank has indicated that DFIs might provide as much as USD 170 million under some conditions.
In their Johannesburg Declaration after the two-day meeting, EASSy member countries adopted the ‘open access’ principle of operation that allows any registered company in EASSy member countries to join as and when it wished. Open access is considered the best model that would lead to reduction in telecommunications costs.
Dr. Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, South Africa’s Minister of Communications, noted that the open access model would ensure a level playing field and equal access. She commended the approval of the declaration as a demonstration of the collaboration among African countries, which is one of the principles of NEPAD.
Dr. Henry Chasia, Executive Deputy Chairperson of the NEPAD e-Africa Commission, stated that “all parties that wish to participate in the Eassy project would have to be guided by the declaration. What we are sure of is that the open access will reduce costs of telecommunications, which will lead to more people having access to affordable telecommunications. This will eventually lead to reduction of the digital divide and socio-economic growth of the African continent”.
The Ministers noted that construction of the SAT 3 Project in West Africa had not led to a reduction in telecommunications costs because the “consortium model” adopted by the companies formed an exclusive ‘club’, making it difficult for other interested parties to join. In the ‘open access’ model proposed by the Ministers, all entities wishing to join will pay the same funds for the infrastructure and mechanisms will be put in place to control prices.
The Ministers selected Rwanda to host the headquarters of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), which is the entity to construct, own, maintain and operate the NEPAD ICT Broadband Infrastructure Network, including the EASSy cable, on ‘open access’ principles.
The SPV will also ensure that the Infrastructure meets the development and commercial objectives, and operates in accordance with NEPAD’s objectives and principles.
Source : NEPAD News - 15 June 2006