Tanzania welcomes Seychelles East Africa System


18-May-2012

The landing of SEAS in Dar es Salaam

As was said by the Minister for Natural Resources and Industry, Peter Sinon, who led a Seychelles delegation at the beach landing of the fibre-optic cable, SEAS (Seychelles East Africa System), in Dar es Salaam recently, “...nowadays, only the brave can last two hours without checking their emails or other forms of electronic communications...”.

He was speaking at a cocktail reception at the Hilton Double Tree Resort in Dar es Salaam, hosted by ZANTEL and the residing Seychelles consul to commemorate the landing of SEAS there.

This event was also attended by the Tanzanian Minister for Communication Science and Technology, Prof. Makame M. Mbarawa, the Leader of Government Business in the National Assembly, Marie- Antoinette Rose, the Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly, Hon. David Pierre, representatives of ZANTEL, ALCATEL and the Seychelles Cable Systems Ltd. (SCS).

“Be it on their phone, their tablet computers, their laptop; email and internet access have become virtually a basic commodity,” he said, adding that in Tanzania, in particular Dar es Salaam, fast and affordable internet access is increasingly a reality for its population. Dar es Salaam is already connected by two submarine cable systems; EASSy and SEACOM.

Minister Sinon also pointed out that one of the key reasons Seychelles embarked on its first submarine fibre-optic cable is that the country could not afford not to if it were to keep on growing as a country and also not be left behind by ICT developments in the region.

To date Seychelles has been at a comparative disadvantage as it is the only country in the region with no optic fibre link.

“Vastly enhanced electronic communications is vital for even our tourism sector, diversification of the economy, greater access to education, specialised medical services, and many others. This cable represents a key piece of infrastructure that will support the march of our nation towards new heights in its development for the coming decade,” he said.

The Seychelles-Tanzania relationship dates back several decades to when both countries were born as sovereign nations.  Over that time, like Seychelles, Tanzania has been a role model in the region in terms of political stability.  This stability as well as the friendship between the governments of the two countries gives the landing of SEAS in Dar es Salaam even more symbolic importance.

It is to be noted that the Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete, was the guest of honour at Seychelles’ National Day celebrations last year.

According to the chairman of SCS, Benjamin Choppy, the decision to land in Dar es Salaam, in addition to the stability of Tanzania, was a business one based on offerings by ZANTEL, the SEAS landing party in Dar es Salaam. It is also to be noted that ZANTEL is also the landing party for EASSy in Tanzania and that SCS is also a shareholder in WIOCC (Western Indian Ocean Cable Company) which is that largest entity in EASSy. 

For his part, Prof Mbarawa described international connectivity, as well as regional and inter-continental, as being of paramount importance to the development of Tanzania as a country and also for Africa as a continent.

“In the last few years, we have seen the development of telecoms really take off in the Dar es Salaam area, and as we welcome our third fibre-optic cable, I take this as a complete illustration of the faith that these companies and consortiums such as EASSy, SEACOM and SCS place in our authorities, and for this I am proud.  The direct economic activity that the presence of these cables generates in the Dar es Salaam area is also more than welcome,” he said.
 
The landing of SEAS in Dar es Salaam is also in line with the intention of the Tanzanian government to promote the port city into becoming an ICT hub in the region. Dar es Salaam is also AIRTEL Africa’s choice of being its principal gateway for its telecommunications traffic in and out of the continent.

“Having witnessed the positive impact in economic activity that improved connectivity has brought to Dar, for Telecoms, for business, for education, I can comfortably tell our friends from Seychelles that there are better days yet to come,” he said, adding that improved communications has really helped with the flurry of activity that has arisen following Tanzanias’ petroleum related discoveries – an area in which active exploration is under way in Seychelles. 

He added that on the Tanzanian side, having fully developed international connectivity, they are currently concentrating on deploying the last phases of their terrestrial backhaul networks within the country so that they can spread the benefits of this connectivity to the areas further inland.

Unlike Tanzania, Seychelles does not have such a problem as there are already well developed backhaul networks on the three main islands where the vast majority of the population lives.

The high-powered undersea cable is expected to land on Beau Vallon beach in the Seychelles towards the end of May this year. It is the Ile de Sein which is laying the cable all the way from the Msasani beach manhole in Dar es Salaam to the Beau Vallon beach manhole. 

The cable project, which is costing approximately Euro 27 million to implement, is a public-private partnership and the three parties involved are the Seychelles government, Cable & Wireless (Seychelles) and Airtel (Seychelles).  It has been financed entirely through equity from the three shareholders and loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Contributed by SCS (Seychelles Cable Systems) Ltd.

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