Magazine article New African

Djibouti Telecom: Location, Location, Location: Djibouti's Monopoly Telecoms Company Is Leveraging the Country's Location to Develop as a Global Player, as Darren Moore Explains

Magazine article New African

Djibouti Telecom: Location, Location, Location: Djibouti's Monopoly Telecoms Company Is Leveraging the Country's Location to Develop as a Global Player, as Darren Moore Explains

Article excerpt

WITHOUT DOUBT, Djibouti Telecom is the pre-eminent telecoms company in the Horn of Africa. Now it has ambitious plans to expand its operations beyond the region and become the natural telecoms gateway for Ethiopia, Somalia and territories beyond.

To do so it will leverage the special advantages that Djibouti's strategic position offers. Djibouti Telecom is not just about bringing the internet to the Horn of Africa. It is also about putting Djibouti on the map.

The development of trade between the countries of the region, which are members of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), requires the continuous development of communications between the member countries and the rest of the world, especially in terms of telecommunications and internet connectivity.

This has, in the past, posed an obstacle to greater regional economic integration and economic expansion. Development began with substantial investment in fibre-optic cable infrastructure installed in East Africa in 2009-2011, but the demand for broader bandwidth is growing, as it is globally estimated to skyrocket to 3tbps by 2020 for the East Africa market.

In this context, as a springboard and launching point for a new era of high speed connectivity, there could be no better place to locate a hub for the Horn of Africa than Djibouti. The country is taking the opportunity to play a catalytic role in the development of the region, and furthermore its integration into the global economy.

This objective is based on undeniable geographical advantages. Djibouti also possesses the infrastructure that can extend well beyond the national economic context. Indeed, Djibouti's connectivity is essential for the country and the entire region, such as the projected expansion of Djibouti's ports and airports.

Djibouti's investment in international telecoms infrastructure has already played, and continues to play, a major role in its economic success.

The telecommunications sector is at the heart of the national strategy. The state-owned Djibouti Telecom, led by its chief executive Mohamed Assoweh Bouh since March 2014, has invested more than $100m in regional and international infrastructure, establishing Djibouti as a regional hub responsible for delivering a complete portfolio of voice, data/IP and capacity services over state-of-the-art network infrastructure that reaches out to eastern and southern Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

This drive for international expansion comes on top of the fact that Djibouti Telecom remains the sole provider of telecom services for its domestic market. Djibouti Telecom is recognised as being the international carrier with the strongest presence in both the Horn and the East of Africa.

The company's customer base consists of telecommunications service providers and multinational organisations--including international carriers, mobile and fixed telephony operators, internet service providers and major government and private sector clients.

At present the company has two landing facilities serving five submarine cables, linking Africa to Asia, the Middle East and Europe: EASSY, EIG, SEACOM, Sea-Me-We3, and Aden-Djibouti.

By the third quarter of 2016, Djibouti Telecom will introduce two new consortia-owned cables, the AAE1 and Sea-Me-We5. The presence of these new cables will further provide Djibouti Telecom with the ability to deliver to its customers the services that they require and to do so on a reliable and affordable basis, with optimum availability.

The introduction of the new cables will further cement Djibouti Telecom's position in the East Africa market. The company's continued progress towards becoming a gateway from East Africa to the rest of the world is irresistible, thanks to the country's geographical position and the intercontinental submarine cable investments that have been made.

Djibouti has become the optimum gateway between Europe and Asia. …

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