Président de la Commission de l’Union Africaine (depuis le 1er. février 2008)
The NEPAD e-Africa Commission and 5-P Holdings signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Pretoria, South Africa on 24 October 2007, to construct the submarine segment of the NEPAD ICT Broadband Infrastructure Network, UHURUNET. The submarine fibre optic network will encircle the entire continent of Africa, with connections to Europe, Brazil, India and the Middle East.
Mool Singhi signed on behalf of 5-P Holdings while Dr Henry Chasia, Executive Deputy Chairperson of NEPAD e-Africa Commission signed on behalf of the commission. Others present included Robert Henderson from Phelp Stokes Fund and Bright Amisi from the commission.
The MoU provides a framework for collaboration between NEPAD and 5-P Holdings in the financing, design and speedy implementation of the submarine fibre optic network, and in raising investment for the network so that it will have a shareholding which is majority African owned.
According to the MoU, the parties will cooperate to :
“contribute to the development and promotion of the economic, social, cultural development and integration of the African continent consistent with the NEPAD objectives and principles ; and
“facilitate the provision of ICT broadband infrastructure that supports high-quality, high-speed, reliable electronic communications in Africa and with the rest of the world at competitive market-based prices for wholesale capacity, which will be sold on an open access, non-discriminatory basis in order to make ICT available to end users at affordable prices”.
The MoU signing follows a meeting of Ministers responsible for information and communication technologies (ICTs) from Eastern and Southern African countries convened in Johannesburg on 15 October 2007, which endorsed a $2bn submarine cable project to connect Africa. The Ministers called for its speedy implementation.
With a capacity of 3.84 terabits/sec, the cable will connect Africa directly to the Indian subcontinent, Middle East, Europe, and Brazil. It also provides for landing points to every coastal and island country in Africa. The completion of the 50,000 km cable is expected to greatly contribute to reduction of telecommunications costs that have been a hindrance to doing business in Africa.
The Ministers named the submarine segment of the NEPAD network UHURUNET ; its terrestrial segment, UMOJANET ; and recommended that the holding company of the submarine cable be named, BAHARICOM. These words are Swahili, an indigenous African language of the African Union.
UHURU means freedom or independence, which in this case signifies economic independence – a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Ghana’s independence from colonial rule which was celebrated in Accra by the Heads of State in July 2007.
UMOJA means unity. UMOJANET which links all the African countries with ICT broadband signifies the importance of unity of African countries. BAHARI means ocean. This indicates the location of the network.
BAHARICO is the company that brings together the investment of Africans across the ocean.
The NEPAD SPV, established under the Kigali protocol, will own 30 percent (the single largest investor in the company), the African investors and African ICT companies 45 percent and the international philanthropic and other investors, including 5-P Holdings, 25 percent.
The various activities and undertakings are due to be completed in time for the cable to provide communications for the 2010 FIFA World Cup that will take place in South Africa.
The e-Africa Commission is NEPAD’s task team for the development and implementation of the NEPAD ICT programme. Together with the Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund it will coordinate and promote the African participation in the submarine cable project in conjunction with the 5-P Holdings.
5-P Holdings, is a Delaware, US, registered company formed in 2006 to develop, finance, construct and operate a submarine fibre optic network. Source : NEPAD, 2 novembre 2007