Gambia and Guinea plan to have new subsea cable

Ship laying the cable scaled

  • Guinea and Gambia have reportedly signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a second subsea optical fibre cable “in the near future.” 
  • Rose Pola Pricemou, Guinea’s Minister of Posts, Telecommunications, and Digital Economy, signed the agreement in Banjul, Gambia, alongside Gambia’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Ousmane Bah.
  • Following the signing of the memorandum, both parties intend to collaborate on a feasibility study for developing a new submarine cable and benefit from lower project costs.

However, the World Bank will fund the initiative through the West African Digital Integration Project (WARDIP).

Gambia and Guinea are now connected to the ACE (Africa Coast to Europe) cable for “high-speed” Internet access. The ACE is a 17,000-kilometre optical-fibre submarine cable system that serves approximately 24 countries and is managed by a consortium of 20 members. The consortium agreement was documented in 2010 and implemented in 2012, with an official ceremony in Banjul, Gambia.

According to reports, ACE is the first international submarine cable to land in Gambia, Guinea, and several other countries, including Liberia and Mauritania.

The decision to build a second cable follows frequent cable disruptions, which have tested many subsea cables. In March 2024, many African countries experienced Internet outages due to major subsea cable damage.

Cable companies such as West African Cable System (WACS) and African Coast to Europe (ACE) on the West Coast route from Europe, as well as SAT3 and MainOne, experienced outages.

A similar incident occurred in 2018, when ten West African countries went completely offline, some for 48 hours, due to damage to the African Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable. 

Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, and the Gambia were among the affected countries, with Mauritania suffering the most significant and long-term disruption.

Consequently, Gambia and Guinea hope to improve the quality of their telecommunications services while reaching more people at a lower cost by laying a second subsea cable.