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Mike Last, Marketing and International Business Development Director of WIOCC, takes a look at Africa’s rapidly evolving connectivity landscape

Until recently, Africa was held back from becoming a more important player on the world business stage by a number of factors including a lack of affordable and reliable, high-speed connectivity – both domestically and internationally - and little or no diversity in available telecommunications networks.

However, communications to, from and within Africa have recently experienced huge improvements and things promise to get even better. New, high-capacity submarine cables such as EASSy, which went live in mid-2010, have dramatically improved the continent’s international connectivity and have also provided reliable, lower cost diversity options. Their arrival has also been the catalyst for significant and ongoing investment in terrestrial fibre-optic networks which are now extending high-speed reach inland.

Largely unencumbered by legacy systems, it is clear to see why the telecoms sector in Africa is experiencing prodigious growth. Deregulation and the resulting competitive environments are driving innovation, with new technologies and mobile applications quickly rolled out and adopted, leading to dramatic increases in mobile uptake and usage by domestic and business customers.

All this makes Africa a place of increasing opportunity for ISPs, carriers and major corporates interested in doing business.