Video Message from Dr Hamadoun I. Touré,
Commissioning of SEACOM submarine cable
4 August 2009
Excellency President Mwai Kibaki,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to address you today on this momentous occasion when
Africa gets connected to the rest of the world. As Secretary-General of the
International Telecommunication Union, this is a dream come true.
SEACOM’s submarine fibre-optics cable, which connects communication carriers in
south and east Africa to global networks via India and Europe, is the new
platform for large bandwidth capacity and growth at affordable prices.
While Africa has made spectacular progress in mobile connectivity in recent
years, SEACOM’s submarine communications cable finally heralds the age of
high-speed broadband on the continent. This shift in emphasis from voice to data
marks a landmark transition that places Africa on a level playing field with the
rest of the world.
Broadband connectivity has become the great enabler of modern society, helping
people communicate across distances and across cultural divides, facilitating
trade and commerce, and providing access to critical resources, such as
healthcare and education.
The Internet is the powerhouse of the world economy. It is a vital and essential
global infrastructure, with applications and services which drive social and
economic development in every corner of the planet. It is therefore not an
option for an entire continent to be left out of this global network.
Connecting Africa to broadband Internet comes at a critical time to bridge the
growing information and knowledge divide which separates the continent from the
rest of the world.
In one giant leap, the tremendous bandwidth on SEACOM’s communication cables
brings about a paradigm shift by fundamentally changing the data landscape for
It breaks through the bottlenecks which had deprived access for too long. And it
unleashes the full potential of African creativity and ingenuity, providing the
opportunities to match progress with the rest of the world.
It opens wide the doors to information and knowledge, reaching out to the
region’s cities and villages, schools and hospitals, helping under-served
communities reap the fruits of high-speed Internet connectivity.
It facilitates trade and commerce between the African hinterland and overseas.
And it sets the stage for a cross-flow of rich entertainment and cultural
exchange with the spotlight on African traditions, music, dance and literature —
on HDTV and IPTV.
The ITU Connect Africa Summit in Kigali in 2007 generated commitments to
interconnect all African capitals and major cities with ICT broadband
infrastructure by 2012, and to extend broadband and ICT services to all African
villages by 2015. SEACOM’s communication cable helps Africa reach these targets,
which in turn will help Africans realize their development goals and
With demand for communications services as strong as ever, I believe Africa has
the opportunity to write an exciting new chapter in its development with the
commissioning of SEACOM’s undersea cable. ITU is committed to connecting the
world. And I wish you every success in connecting Africa to the world.