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Facebook, Telecom firms to build subsea cable networks

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Facebook is partnering with a consortium of African and global telecom firms to build one of the world’s largest underwater or subsea cable networks. This will boost Internet availability across three continents- Africa, Middle East and parts of Europe, The firms announced in a joint statement on Thursday.

The partners in this project are South Africa’s MTN GlobalConnect and Mauritius-based infrastructure provider WIOCC , alongside China Mobile International, French telecoms major, Orange SA, Saudi Arabia’s STC, Telecom Egypt, and Vodafone.

The project, called 2Africa, aims to build 37,000 kilometres of subsea cable infrastructure which will directly connect countries around the African coast to Europe and the Middle East, according to its website.

The network will have a design capacity of up to 150 terabytes per second (Tbps) on key parts of the system, according to the site . The 11 new cables rolled out between 2009 and 2016 in sub-Saharan Africa provided around 70 Tbps of design capacity.

Subsea infrastructure provider, Alcatel Submarine Networks will build the project, which is expected to be operational by 2023/24. The companies did not reveal how much money they are investing.

“2Africa… will interconnect Europe, the Middle East and 21 landings in 16 African countries,” according to the statement.

Subsea cables form the internet’s backbone , carrying 99% of the world’s data traffic.

However, with a population of 1.3 billion, Africa is still behind in internet connectivity, with average internet penetration at around 39% against a world average of 59%.

On completion, the subsea network looks to deliver more than the total combined capacity of all subsea cables serving Africa today.

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Business Edge| Kenya Seeks $2.3 Billion Loan from IMF to Aid Economic Recovery

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On Business Edge today, News Central’s Joe Hanson and Global Tax Advisor, Mtwalo Msoni talked about Zimbabwe Beginning to Re-claim Underutilized Farms and how Kenya Seeks $2.3 Billion Loan from IMF to Aid Economic Recovery.

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Nigeria’s Monetary Policy

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The Monetary Policy Committee of Nigeria’s Central Bank (CBN) has retained key lending rates at 11.5 percent. CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, announced this on Tuesday, saying it is part of efforts to boost the economy towards a sustainable recovery from the recession.

Earlier today The Managing partner, Comercio Partners, Nnamdi Nwizu joined us on the News Central Now to discuss this.

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Nigeria’s House of Reps to Pass Petroleum Industry Bill into Law By March 2021

“We are confident that this piece of legislation will stand the test of time. In as much as we are eager to pass the bill, we will not circumvent legislative process. It is our hope and belief that the bill will be passed by the end of the first quarter of year 2021.”

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The House of Representatives has announced its plan to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill by end of the first quarter of 2021.

The House had on Tuesday passed the bill for second reading, and the Ad Hoc Committee on PIB disclosed this in Abuja on Wednesday.

The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, had referred the bill to the committee for further legislative processes.

The legislation was titled, “A Bill for an Act to Provide for Legal, Governance, Regulatory and Fiscal Framework for the Nigeria Petroleum Industry, Development of Host Communities and for Related Matters.”

The Chief Whip of the House and Chairman of the committee, Mohammed Monguno, in his opening speech at the inaugural meeting of the panel on Wednesday, noted that the PIB, when passed into law, will improve clarity of structures, roles accountability, transparency and overall efficiency and effectiveness of the institutions in the oil industry.

He said, “Under our watch as a committee, which I am privileged to chair, it is a general consensus that the passage of this Bill is long overdue. We are taking time to review what has been done by the previous Assemblies and what we need to do differently.

“Prior to the referral of the bill, the leadership of the House, the Senate and the relevant committees of the National Assembly have been briefed by the Hon. Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, with his team, wherein most of the concerns and controversies contained in the previous drafts has been significantly addressed in this present draft.”

The lawmaker stated that the committee would do its best by engaging various stakeholders, civil society and the general public by subjecting the bill to detailed and public scrutiny, to ensure that Nigerians are carried along.

“We are confident that this piece of legislation will stand the test of time. Inasmuch as we are eager to pass the bill, we will not circumvent legislative process. It is our hope and belief that the bill will be passed by the end of the first quarter of year 2021.”

“The committee has also taken the liberty to create a website, www.hrpib.org.ng, as one of the platforms where stakeholders and interested members of the general public can download the text of the bill and also upload comments/inputs/memoranda to same.

“The website is particularly important because it enables all Nigerians, so long as you have internet access, irrespective of where they might be or live, to participate in the legislative process.”

Monguno recalled that the journey to pass the PIB commenced in 2007 when it was first introduced on the floor of the House. However, the passage of the bill has evaded three successive Assemblies, i.e. the 6th, 7th and 8th.

The Chief Whip further said, “I am particularly alarmed that though the exploration of fossil fuel in Nigeria dates back to the 60s, commercial exploration may only last for another 25 years.

It is not to say that we might exhaust the deposit, but that the entire world is focusing on research to develop, renewable energy that could turn out to be cheaper and environmentally friendlier.

“That is why it has become expedient, more than ever, to leverage on this window of opportunity that the oil exploration presents to us as Nigerians, by ensuring that the Petroleum Industry Bill is passed without further delay.”

Monguno also noted that, in spite of all the efforts of the preceding administrations to diversify the monolithic economy, the oil industry still remained the mainstay of the country.

“Every time there is significant fluctuations in the price of crude oil, all other sectors of our national lives suffer,” he said.

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