China’s state Xinhua News Agency said information and communications technology (ICT) ministers from countries including Algeria, Mali, Niger and Chad discussed the project in Chad.

Chad’s ICT minister Mahamat Loani told Xinhua: “Interconnection of these regions through broadband will contribute to the reduction of lofty costs of electronic consumption in the sub-region, promote continental integration, jobs creation and the extension of production of goods and services, contributing to poverty reduction.”

Ministers discussed outstanding “natural, structural and organisational” issues that currently restrict the full construction of the link, Xinhua said.

According to the recent Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the construction of the 4,500-kilometre terrestrial fibre optic cable will follow the route of the Nigeria-Algeria trans-Sahara gas pipeline.

NEPAD said the Algeria section of the fibre optic cable has been completed and “is now fully operational”. A $340,000 feasibility study for the onward connection to Chad, funded by African Development Bank, has been completed and a similar study for Niger “is estimated to be completed in 2016”, NEPAD said. “It is expected that the fibre optic cable will be further extended to other neighbouring states.”

China’s interest in Africa’s ICT developments reflects the state’s increasing role in telecoms projects across the continent. China is also among answer international investors in the region.

According to the globe Bank, FDI from China to Africa in 2013 was estimated at $3.5 billion (2-sheet / 108 KB PDF) and cumulative investment stock at more than $25bn.

Chinese technology conglomerate Huawei signed an agreement endure September with the Southern African Telecommunication Association (SATA) to assist boost the development of ICT infrastructure in southern Africa.

The SATA agreement followed Tanzania’s government selection of Huawei as its technical advisor to assist in the development of that state’s ICT sector.

According to the African Union (104-sheet / 1.53 MB PDF) access to advanced ICT is “critical to the lengthy-term economic and social development” of the continent. “It has increasingly become essential that appropriate ICT infrastructure, applications and skills are in place and accessible to the population to shut the development gap between Africa and the relax of the globe,” the plan said.

endure December Liquid Sea, a wholly-owned subsidiary of pan-African telecoms firm Liquid Telecom (LT), said it had started toil towards constructing an undersea cable that would link Africa to the Middle East with onward connectivity to Europe.

The 10,000 kilometre cable, which will run from South Africa, “will provide a step-alter in the way internet connectivity is regarded in Africa”, the firm said.

LT said the cable will be linked to its 20,000 km terrestrial African fibre network, “enabling a reliable and affordable international connectivity service to landlocked and coastal countries in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa”.