Google’s Equiano cable lands in Nigeria

Google's Equiano cable lands in Nigeria

Google has announced the landing of its Equiano subsea cable in Lagos, Nigeria, following the successful landing in Togo in March 2022.

The Togo landing was the first in a series of landings on the continent for the subsea cable, which will run from Portugal along Africa’s west coast to South Africa. 

“The Equiano cable has special resonance for Nigeria as it’s named after Olaudah Equiano, a Nigerian-born writer and abolitionist, so its landing in Lagos, Nigeria today is like a homecoming,” said Juliet Ehimuan, Director, West Africa at Google.

Nigeria is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest economy. However, the share of people using the internet stood at approximately 35% as of 2020 – double what it was in 2012.

This shows a lack affordable, reliable and quality access to the internet much of the country, which limits citizens’ ability to benefit from, and contribute to, the digital economy.

Impact of Equiano in Nigeria

Google says landing this cable comes as part of critical stages leading up to its deployment later this year, and it is expected to deliver up to 20 times more capacity than the region’s prior cables.

“We’ve worked with established partners and in-country experts to ensure that Equiano has the greatest potential effect in Nigeria and throughout Africa,” adds Ehimuan.

A recent economic impact assessment conducted by Africa Practice and Genesis Analytics states that Equiano’s arrival in Nigeria is expected to result in faster internet speeds and significantly improve people’s experiences while online.

Internet speeds in Nigeria are expected to grow almost sixfold by 2025, and retail internet prices are forecasted to decline by 21% over the same period.

The same study found that by 2025, real GDP in Nigeria is forecast to be USD 10.1 billion higher than it otherwise would have been without Equiano and that the cable would indirectly generate roughly 1.6 million new jobs between 2022 and 2025.

Government Initiatives

Since 2017, the Nigerian government has been actively working on its digital transformation programs as part of plans to grow its domestic sectors.

These initiatives have proven pivotal to the success of many industries in the country, especially the startup space. In the last five years, startups in Nigeria have produced five unicorns (startups valued at over a billion dollars).

Businesses are also benefiting significantly from the usage of internet platforms, with total e-commerce annual expenditure predicted to climb to $75 billion by 2025, up from its current projection of US $12 billion.

Though a great deal of progress has been made, studies suggest that faster internet connections, better user experiences, and reduced internet costs will help accelerate these benefits.

Google is partnering with multiple key telecom players, including landing party, the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC), where Equiano lands to ensure that the cable can reach more businesses and end users across Nigeria and the African continent more broadly