Mitsui & Co. sets up $100 Million Fiber Optic Project in Kenya

Mitsui & Co. has established a fiber-optic company in Kenya with Google and others in hopes of capturing robust demand for high-speed telecom services in Africa.

The partners, which also include the World Bank group lender International Finance Corp. and a South African investment fund, set up CSquared in Nairobi.

Since 2013, Google has installed fiber-optic cables totaling more than 800km in Uganda’s Kampala, and more than 840km in Ghana’s Accra. But to offer seamless high-speed data services in urban centers, existing networks need to be beefed up.

The $100 million project aims to install additional underground fiber-optic cables in those cities and lease them to internet service companies and mobile carriers for a fee. The company also plans to expand cable installation elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa.

In sub-Saharan Africa, data transmission via mobile devices is expected to grow tenfold by 2022, making construction of the necessary infrastructure imperative.

In 2015, Mitsui took a 20% stake in Afrimax, which offers high-speed mobile communication services in Uganda and Ghana. Mitsui seeks to strengthen collaboration between Afrimax and the new company and will also look into getting into businesses likely to flourish under the improved telecom infrastructure, such as e-commerce.