Facebook has taken a keen interest in the African market and one of the areas they are focusing on is connectivity. That is why they are involved in such projects like Express WiFi or the undersea cable they are sponsoring to connect Africa.
Analysys Mason did a report on the impact of Facebook’s connectivity initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa. They highlighted that their investments in infrastructure and connectivity across the region will deliver over $57 billion in economic benefits over the next five years.
A majority of this economic benefits will be realized from edge networks and submarine cables ($53.4 billion), fiber backhauls will contribute $3.9 billion and Express WiFi will contribute $0.3 billion.
“At Facebook we’re committed to Africa and the role that we can play in improving the continent’s global competitiveness. Over the last three years we’ve heavily invested in infrastructure and connectivity initiatives that aim to affordably connect people on this continent and create tangible social-economic benefits. These efforts are part of a complex solution that requires all stakeholders – including mobile operators, infrastructure providers and governments – to work together for the common good. We are only 1% finished and remain committed to this exciting journey and working with all our partners along the way,” Facebook’s Africa Public Policy Director, Kojo Boakye commented.
The Economist Intelligence Unit Inclusive Internet Index claims over 800 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are unconnected and this is a massive opportunity for anyone.
On the infrastructure front, Facebook has invested in a number of projects. They have invested in Edge networks so that access to the Facebook platform is closer to people, improving user experience and cutting costs. They have also invested in backhaul fiber investments through Open Transport Networks, like in Uganda and Nigeria where in partnership with telcos, they deployed 770km and 800km of fiber respectively. Facebook has also invested in submarine cables like the 2Africa cable which will circle the continent and land in 16 African countries.
Facebook has also supported mobile operators through initiatives like Express Wi-Fi that was launched in Kenya some time back. They have also invested rural access partnerships in countries like Cameroon, DRC and Kenya through BRCK. The company has also invested in Telecom Infra Project that is meant to mobilize stakeholders to work towards implementation of new and cost effective tech solutions.