[AfrICANN-discuss] African Development Bank Supports Satellite Communication in Africa

Anne-Rachel Inné annerachel at gmail.com
Thu Mar 12 23:35:10 SAST 2009

*African Development Bank Supports Satellite Communication in Africa / A
Senior Loan of US$ 25 million to finance the New Dawn Satellite Project


TUNIS, Tunisia, March 12, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Board
of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group on Wednesday in
Tunis approved a loan of US$ 25 million for the New Dawn Satellite Project.

The project comprises the design, construction, launch and operation of a
pan-African communications satellite system into the 33° East orbital
location, ideally positioned to serve the African continent. The satellite,
which will comprise 30 physical transponders operating in the C and Ku
frequency bands, will provide services in Africa for cellular backhaul,
Internet backbone, corporate networking, TV relay and broadcasting. The
launch and commencement of commercial operations are expected in early 2011.

The project sponsors are Intelsat, a world leader in fixed satellite
operations, and South African investors, including Convergence Partners. The
project was able to successfully raise the necessary funds, US$ 250 million,
despite difficult market conditions thanks to close collaboration between
Nedbank, the Industrial Development Corporation and the AfDB.

The project responds to strong demand for satellite supply capacity, driven
by efforts by mobile operators to expand their networks to underserved
areas, support businesses and remote communities, and boost socioeconomic

The project is in line with the AfDB’s Information and Communication
Technology Strategy (ICT) which sets out regional and national
infrastructure as its first priority. This includes international
connectivity to the rest of the world, regional backhaul links that
interconnect countries, national backbones that extend access beyond major
cities, and last-mile connectivity to rural and underserved communities.
Regional infrastructure is also the focus of NEPAD’s Medium-to-Long-term
Strategic Framework, where the AfDB has been designated a lead agency.

Prior to the New Dawn Satellite project, the AfDB had approved investments
in three private sector ICT projects. The first was Euro 13 million partial
guarantee to MTN Cameroon to cover the loan extended by local commercial
banks in Cameroon and Gabon. MTN contributed to the rapid growth in GSM
usage by both businesses and the public at large. This was followed by a US$
50 million senior loan to the RASCOM Telecommunications Satellite Project,
which involves the construction and launch of an earth-orbiting satellite
system to provide point-to-multi-point telecommunications services
throughout Africa with strong focus on intra-African connectivity and rural
communications. This was followed by a US$ 14.5 million loan to the East
African Submarine Cable System (EASSy), which is an initiative to construct
and operate a submarine fiber-optic cable along the east coast of Africa to
connect 20 coastal and land-locked countries to one another and to the rest
of the world.
  *SOURCE : *African Development Bank (AfDB)
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