The ITU Telecom World 2018 conference kicked off in Durban this week, and one of the several highlights on the first day was a significant announcement by Liquid Telecom.

Reshaad Sha, CEO of Liquid Telecom SA addressed a room filled with local media to discuss the company’s latest development in their broadband network designed for the African continent.

More specifically Liquid Telecom’s Cape to Cairo network is now live, with it being the first direct land-based communication between South Africa and Egypt and stretching over 10 000 kilometres explained Sha.

It now affords the company the ability to provide significantly reduced latency compared to subsea cable routes, Sha goes on. This would in turn have benefits for businesses and SMEs across the continent, as it provides a more cost-effective solution as opposed to what was available previously, notes the CEO.

The Cape to Cairo network, also referred to as “One Africa” by Liquid Telecom will also champion the company’s vision for reinvigorated Pan-African trade. According to Sha, internal trade within the region is sitting at a relatively low 18 percent, while Europe and North America are far higher at 69 percent and 50 percent respectively.

It will be interesting to see if it has the effect on Pan-African trade that Liquid Telecom is intending, with the company adding that their network runs along existing infrastructure to ensure current trade hubs benefit and grow as a result.

“Each country that has been connected to the One Africa network has experienced a dramatic increase in data traffic between the other nations connected to it,” adds Sha.

The timing of the announcement could not have come at a better time says Sha, as African Union members recently agreed to continent-wide free-trade which has the potential to create a market of 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of $3.4 trillion.

As for the number of countries that are currently involved in the Cape to Cairo network, Sha points out that it runs through 13, with nine of them being connected and the remainder serviced by Liquid Telecoms partners.

Speaking of partners, the CEO adds that the ITU World Telecom 2018 conference affords them the opportunity to discuss potential collaborations and projects with other companies both in Africa and further afield.

Sha did not divulge any definitive details, but did mention that Liquid Telecom have a number of promising meetings setup for ITU World Telecom 2018 this week, with some said to be in the Asian region.

As such, there could even be a chance for Liquid Telecom to expand its reach beyond Africa’s borders.

For now though, Sha says the company’s goal of creating networks, both terrestrial and undersea, in Eastern, Central and Western Africa are beginning to take substantial shape.