Vertiv, a global provider of critical digital infrastructure and continuity solutions has featured MainOne, West Africa’s leading communications and data center service provider in a campaign themed ‘Connecting West Africa to the World‘. MainOne’s CEO, Funke Opeke speaks with Vertiv on the company’s mission, journey and most recent project, a new cable landing station and data centre in Ivory Coast.
West Africa, home to some of the fastest-growing populations in the world, was left behind in the connectivity revolution that swept the world in the 1990s and 2000s. The region was served by just one low-capacity undersea cable connection and a severe lack of terrestrial fibre optic networks until 2010.
2010, when MainOne embarked on their mission to connect West Africa to the world with a submarine cable, 10 times the capacity of anything seen previously. The company’s journey has not been an easy one, presenting a range of technical, financial, and regulatory hurdles to overcome. Nearly half of all capital projects in West Africa experience delays of over six months. While the region’s most populous nation, Nigeria, offers many examples of projects that were delayed for more than two years and spent more than double their original budget estimates.
On challenges faced, “One of the first major challenges we encountered came from the lack of a metro fibre infrastructure and terrestrial cable networks in Nigeria. Such networks are necessary to provide access and push the traffic to various customers around the country. Our undersea cable connection triggered investments in metro fibre infrastructure for the country’s most populous city, Lagos, and more recently in the states of Ogun and Edo”, says Opeke.
Speaking on plans for the future, she says, “In order to further accelerate the proliferation of broadband and trigger digital transformation in the region, MainOne will continue to invest in new data centre real estate, as we have already done in Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Senegal”.
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