Bayobab, a subsidiary of JSE-listed MTN Group, has successfully secured a significant contract to oversee the management, operation, and maintenance of the national fibre infrastructure within the Central African Republic.
CEO Frederic Schepens of Bayobab shared with TechFinancials that this contract forms an integral part of the expansion strategy known as Project East2West.
The overarching aim of Project East2West is to establish a terrestrial fibre optic cable network that connects the eastern and western regions of Africa.
In a recent development in May 2023, Bayobab and Africa50 officially joined forces through a partnership aimed at propelling Project East2West forward. The partnership is set to invest up to a substantial $320 million or R6 billion, facilitating connectivity across ten African nations spanning the years 2023 through 2025.
Beyond connectivity, the partnership aspires to invigorate local content consumption and bolster regional economic growth.
This significant investment aligns seamlessly with MTN’s Ambition 2025 initiative, a strategic blueprint. It contributes decisively to Bayobab’s mission to deploy an expansive 135,000 kilometres of proprietary fibre within the next three years.
The fibre management deal in the Central African Republic arises from the Central African Backbone project. This extensive 1050-kilometer fibre network, encompassing two vital routes within the country, became operational in February 2023 following construction that commenced back in September 2019.
Notably, the African Development Bank funded this endeavour, aimed at enhancing digital connectivity throughout the Central African Republic.
Schepens further emphasized that the agreement isn’t solely about connectivity; it stands to catalyse progress and spur economic advancement within the region.
Bayobab, drawing inspiration from Africa’s Tree of Life, has established a steadfast commitment to providing next-generation digital solutions tailored to Africa’s expansive landscapes.
Its operational reach extends to several countries, including Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Cote D’Ivoire, and South Africa.
Remarkably, Bayobab’s external revenue demonstrated impressive growth, clocking in at 12.3% year-on-year, totalling $172.5 million or R3.2 billion for the period ending in June. Notably, the communication platforms segment grew by 11.9% year-on-year, supported by a notable five-year messaging agreement with a global hyperscaler and robust international voice performance.
Bayobab has also fostered partnerships with global mobile networks, resulting in the launch of over 5,700 roaming services that expanded its operational footprint. The fixed connectivity segment experienced a remarkable external revenue surge of 15.2% year-on-year, attributed to new infrastructure deals valued at US$8.4 million.
Schepens proudly declared, “In the first half of 2023, we successfully deployed approximately 3,000 kilometres of new fibre, elevating our total proprietary fibre inventory to an impressive 108,000 kilometres as of June 30, 2023.”