By David Sims
Spanning the globe to bring you all the news you need, we note that industry journal Business Excellence features international carrier Djibouti Telecom, pointing out that the carrier, already with a strong presence in Eastern Africa, is planning to expand further across the region and become the gateway to Europe.
The telecom’s general manager, Abdourahman Mohamed Hassan, told Bus-Ex that while Djibouti is a tiny state, it has a strategic importance that far exceeds its small size and population of around one million people since it’s on a peninsula that divides the Gulf of Adenf rom the Gulf of Tadjoura in the Horn of Africa.
And Djibouti Telecom is strategically important since it’s the sole provider of telecommunications services in the country. Even in such a favorable situation domestic revenue streams are obviously limited, which is why Hassan sees eastern and southern Africa and the Middle East and even Europe as avenues for possible future growth.
Hassan is talking up Djibouti as a good location for a high speed connectivity hub. He cites deregulation and opening of markets in countries such as Kenya and Tanzania, noting that “state-managed monopolies are only the order of the day in a dwindling number of countries.”
Still, they are tar pits where they do exist.
Djibouti Telecom offers voice, data/IP and capacity services over what Hassan says is a “state-of-art network infrastructure,” and their customer base consists of telecommunications service providers and multinational organizations including international carriers, mobile and fixed telephony operators, Internet service providers and major government and private sector clients.
“Our strategy is to reach out with different nodes of achieving connectivity,” Hassan explains. “Every operator wants diversity in terms of the international linkages at their disposal with the security of a solid back-up so traffic can be diverted by a secure route if necessary… we are negotiating a new agreement with MENA-ICS [the Middle East North Africa International Cable System] investors in order for Djibouti to become a landing point and own capacity over this submarine cable system.”
He’s realistic about the challenges facing Africa. “Poor infrastructure in the region is our biggest challenge,” he declares. “Underwater cables such as SEACOM (News –Alert) and EASSy have only recently become operational and have transformed Africa’s connectivity, but there is still a terrestrial backhaul problem because many African states are land-locked.”
With the deployment of the submarine cable systems in East Africa, however, “our IP node and exchange will play a significant role in the region by offering improved options to support the increasing demand for international service from Eastern and southern Africa.”