US$25m ACE Cable Launch
The Liberia Telecommunication Authority or LTA is expected to officially launch the West African Regional Communication Infrastructure Program (WARCIP) in Paynesville today.
LTA Chairman Angelique Weeks, told journalists at a news conference held in Monrovia Thursday that the WARCIP Liberia project is funded through a World Bank’s US$25.6 million loan to the Government of Liberia.
“That loan covers US$20,000,000.00 contribution to the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) Cable Consortium and it is spear headed by Telecom Liberia. WARCIP is also found in other African countries,” she said.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is expected to grace the launch, including other dignitaries at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.
According to Madam Weeks, the US$20 million to ACE represents contribution from the Government of Liberia, Liberia Telecommunication Corporation (LIBTELCO) and national operators.
Based on the Cable Consortium (CCL) agreement of which Liberia is becoming a part, the LTA boss said government through the Ministry of Finance has 60 percent shares, while the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (LIBTELCO) holds 20 percent shares.
The LoneStar Communication Corporation and Cellcom Communication Incorporated are said to be national operators, with each of them holding 10 percent shares.
She said the actual cost of the ACE Cable Landing project is US$25 million, indicating that the two national operators- LoneStar and Cellcom will each be providing US$2.5 million, totaling US$5 million for 10 percent each in the project.
Weeks further noted that the Cable Consortium of Liberia is the organization in the country that will own and operate the beach manhole, which will house or serve as path for the cable, upon offloading on the shores of Liberia by the end of October this year.
She said the Liberian Government in June this year signed the ACE Consortium and Maintenance Agreement and finalized the country's membership in the ACE Cable Consortium.
The ACE Cable is expected to build a $700 million submarine fiber optic, extending about 17, 000 Kilometers to connect up to 24 countries with a minimum broadband capacity speed of 1.92 Tb/s.
For her part, Madam Coleen Littlejohn, World Bank Group Liberia Office Acting Country Manager and Senior Operations Officer acknowledged the 'exciting project’ that is being financed in part by the US$25.6 million loan from the World Bank.
She said Liberia “is now a member of the West Africa Regional Communications Infrastructure Program- WARCIP- which is now making possible the construction of the West Africa portion of an approximately 17,000 km submarine cable system...”
she noted that the lack of access to low price and high quality communication services is one of the factors limiting Liberia’s to create jobs, expand production of goods and services, among others.
Notwithstanding, Madam Littlejohn among several things said, increased and cheaper bandwidth will open tremendous opportunities for e-government applications, thus improving governance and accountability to citizens.
She said ICT will help improve the delivery of other services such as health and education, which are needed to reach the Minimum Development Goals or MDGs.