The World Bank Group encourages competition between providers of communications infrastructure and supports openaccess to core components of the communications network. If multiple submarine fiber-optic cables are developed to serve the region of Eastern and Southern Africa, it will stimulate
competition and reduce prices for consumers.
IFC and other Development Financial Institutions (DFIs) are directly supporting one such project - the Eastern African Submarine Cable System (EASSy). This is a submarine fiber-optic cable running 10,000 kilometers along the East coast of Africa, connecting South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, Djibouti, Sudan, Comoros and Mayotte.
A partnership of about 20 African and international telecommunications operators, EASSy will dramatically increase the amount of bandwidth available throughout the region while significantly reducing the price of international communications services.
To promote competition and create a more level playing field for smaller operators, IFC’s financing of US$32.5 million and those of partner DFIs are being channeled through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). Representing a group of smaller operators, the SPV is the single largest investor in EASSy. The SPV will be able to negotiate better terms for capacity on behalf of its member companies, and will provide competition to other members of the EASSy consortium.
IFC is coordinating its efforts with the World Bank’s complementary system of terrestrial backhaul and backbone networks - the Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (RCIP).