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Fact File: South Africa says BRICS Cable will boost trade
February 26, 2013, 12:20 am

A map from developers i3 Africa showing the route the cable will take [i3 Africa/BRICS Cable]

A map from developers i3 Africa showing the route the cable will take [i3 Africa/BRICS Cable]

By the time it is completed, the BRICS Cable will be the third longest undersea telecommunications cable in the world, stretching from Vladivostok in Russia to Miami in the US covering a distance of 34,000km.

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa currently use hubs in Europe and the US to connect to one another, which translates into higher costs and leaves open the opportunity for data interception and theft.

The new cable, comprising 2-fibre pair 12.8 Terabit per-second capacity Fibre optic cable system is BRICS’s greatest strategic investment for member countries and is expected to enhance technology sharing, boost trade and facilitate financial transactions.

Linking to the already existing EASSy/SEACOMS cable along the continent’s east coast and the WACS cable on the west, the BRICS Cable will provide Russia, China, Brazil and India a two-way avenue with 21 African countries currently using those systems.

The scope of strengthened trade, transactions and exchange of ideas between Africa and BRICS is virtually limitless; this has been South Africa’s ambition – to become a necessary gateway between it BRICS and the continent. The Cable will be of particular importance to emerging economies seeking to tap into newer developed markets.

Speaking at the session titled ‘Connecting the Developing World’, Andrew Mthembu, Chairman of i3 Africa and Imphandze Investments – the two South African entities supporting the project – said that the BRICS Cable initiative was welcomed during talks held New Delhi in 2012.

“It is a strategic project for social and economic benefit to all BRICS countries,” said Mthembu.

The planned completion date is late 2014 – it will take two years to manufacture, plan the route and lay the cable, i3 Africa says.

According to i3 Africa, the crucial bit is the agreements with operators and governments in all the connecting countries, which could take up to six months. Mthembu said the lesson of the WACS cable was that getting the permits was the hardest bit, with 12 participating countries, each with their own regimes and laws.

Source: i3 Africa and Agencies