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East Africa gets high-speed internet

Yesterday the 15,000 km (9,300 mi) subsea fiber-optic cable began operations, providing the East African countries of Djibouti, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Mozambique, with high speed internet connections to Europe and Asia.

Seacom Cable Map

Seacom Cable Map

The cable was officially switched on in simultaneous events held across the region, including in Mombasa and Dar es Salaam.

The launch was described by the Chief Executive of SEA Cable Systems as being “a historic day for Africa… [that]… marks the dawn of a new era for communications between the continent and the rest of the world”.

Upon being switched on, the owners of the cable stated that it would reduce internet costs by up to 95% to wholesale customers, whilst providing a far greater speed of internet connection. Read More…

Border dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea

Djibouti and Eritrea have spoken to the United Nations security council on Thursday to discuss a border dispute. Djibouti has said that unless the UN intervenes there will be war.

The dispute dates back to June when violence erupted between the nations in the border region of Doumeira. The resulting clashes killed an estimated 35 people. The unmarked border remains disputed, and the nations have built up troops on each side of the border, keeping the situation tense.

Djibouti’s ambassador to the UN, Roble Olhaye, has accused Eritrea of avoiding mediation on the problem. Djibouti’s President Omah Guelleh told the UN security council “Continued inaction in whatever form not only will encourage but will benefit Eritrea’s attitude. This would only give my country one option, the option of war.” Read More…

European Union funding for Djibouti

With the announcement Monday of 2 million in new funding from the European Union (EU), the Republic of Djibouti’s Ministry of Agriculture hopes to provide some relief to an estimated 25,000 rural inhabitants suffering through severe drought conditions. The money, to be channeled through UNICEF for its water and sanitation program, will be used to develop new wells and improve existing ones.

UNICEF is to contribute a further €60,000, as well as technical expertise to the Ministry of Agriculture, who will carry out the bulk of the work.

“The two-year water supply project targeting rural districts is very significant since people living in 45 villages and their 40,000 heads of cattle will have access to clean drinking water,” said Joaquin Gonzalez, EU Representative in Djibouti.

At the same time, the UN aid agency World Food Program (WFP) indicated that it is working with the Ministry of Agriculture and UNICEF to gradually shift Djibouti’s reliance on emergency aid to a Food for Work program, which it hopes will assist nomadic herders in Djibouti with long-term sustainability. “What we are trying to do together with the Ministry of Agriculture and UNICEF is, for example to dig wells so that despite drought, these herders will be able to irrigate their fields,” said Simon Pluess, WFP spokesman. “And, together with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, we will try and promote vegetable gardens.”