All posts by John Winfield

Nigerians become Academy members

L-R: Akin Omotosho, Genevieve Nnaji and Cynthia Erivo

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the US organisation behind the Oscars, has selected two Nigerians and a British actor of Nigerian descent as members as it aims to increase its female and ethnic minority representation.

The move comes after the Academy’s board of governors vowed four years ago to double the number of women and non-white members by 2020. The Academy was criticised again at the Oscars this year for nominating just one non-white actor.

That actor was Cynthia Ervio, who is one of Academy’s three new members. Born in London to Nigerian parents, Ervio was nominated for Best Actress for her lead role in Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet.

The other two new members are Nollywood actor Genevieve Nnaji and Nigerian filmmaker Akin Omotosho.

Racial equality in Hollywood has come into sharper focus in recent weeks following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and subsequent Black Lives Matter protests around the world.

This year the Academy has invited 819 new people to be members, of which 36% are people of colour. Last year, Nigerian filmmakers Tunde Kelani and Chinonye Chukwu and actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje were invited to join.

“We have always embraced extraordinary talent that reflects the rich variety of our global film community, and never more so than now,” said Academy president David Rubin.

The organisation has grown more international in recent years, tripling its non-US membership since 2015. The Academy also plans to introduce new eligibility rules to boost diversity among Oscars nominees and encourage equitable hiring practices and representation on and off screen.

The 93rd edition of the Academy Awards, known as the Oscars, is scheduled to take place on April 25 next year, with nominations to be announced on March 15.

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Govt grants debt relief to broadcasters

Nigeria’s government has granted a 60% debt relief to all broadcasters in the country that are in debt in an attempt to mitigate Covid-19’s impact on the industry.

Lai Mohammed

During a media briefing on the government’s efforts to bring financial sustainability to the broadcast industry, Information and culture minister Lai Mohammed said the sector had been hit particularly hard by falling ad revenues and sponsorship in the wake of the pandemic.

According to Mohammed, Nigerian radio and television stations owe the government a total of N7.8bn, with many risking losing their broadcast licence.

“Against this background, the management of the NBC has recommended, and the federal government has accepted, 60% debt forgiveness for all debtor broadcast stations in the country,” he said. “However, the criterion for enjoying the debt forgiveness was for debtor stations to pay 40% of their existing debt within the next three months.

“Any station that is unable to pay the balance of 40% indebtedness within the three months’ window shall forfeit the opportunity to enjoy the stated debt forgiveness.”

Mohammed said the government had also approved a discount of 30% on the existing broadcast licence fee for all operating terrestrial radio and television services, effective July 10, in addition to the two-month licence fee waiver already granted to terrestrial broadcast stations by the NBC.

“The debt forgiveness and discount shall not apply to pay TV service operators in Nigeria. The effective date of the debt forgiveness shall be July 10 to October 6, 2020,” he said.

Looking to the future, the minister added: “It is our expectation that the sector will cash in on this unique opportunity to make itself an effective catalyst for national development.”

Discussing efforts to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on the creative sector in general, Mohammed pointed out that the government had set up a post-Covid-19 initiatives committee for the creative industry, which has already submitted a report containing recommendations to benefit the sector industry.

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Netflix lines up SA’s Seriously Single

Seriously Single is set in Johannesburg

South African movie Seriously Single has been picked up by global streamer Netflix, which will make it available at the end of this month.

Seriously Single comes from Johannesburg’s Burnt Onion Productions and was released earlier this year. Written by Lwazi Mvusi (Farewell Ella Bella), the film was produced and directed by Burnt Onion MD Katleho Ramaphakela (Bedford Wives) and creative director Rethabile Ramaphakela (Bedford Wives).

The Johannesburg-set film follows two best friends: Dineo, a romantic social media expert who yearns for love and a fairytale marriage, and Noni, a commitment-phobe who finds herself falling for an unlikely man.

Fulu Mugovhani (Scandal, Isidingo) stars as Dineo, with Tumi Morake – an actor and writer best known for being the first African woman to have her own show on Netflix, WTF Tumi – plays Noni.

Seriously Single will become available on Netflix on July 31. The streamer has previously pledged to diversify its content with films and series from various cultural hot spots, and recently ordered a second season of South African teen drama series Blood & Water.

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Arewa24 marks anniversary with new series

Dandalin Sesame has been created through a partnership with Sesame Workshop

Arewa24, the Hausa-language entertainment and lifestyle TV channel and production studio in West Africa, is marking the sixth anniversary of its launch with a slate of new shows.

Arewa24 aims to provide an authentic Northern Nigerian voice for its audiences and reflect the region’s pride in local culture, arts and lifestyle for Hausa-speaking families.

The new slate coming to the channel this month features drama series such as Labarina, directed by Nigerian filmmaker Aminu Saira; season two of popular comedy series Gidan Badamasi; new episodes of Dadin Kowa, the longest-running drama series in Northern Nigeria; and fellow hit drama series 90 Days.

For kids and young viewers, the channel will air a Nigerian version of classic US children’s show Sesame Street. Dandalin Sesame will feature lovable characters in a Nigerian cultural context and in Hausa.

The channel will also air kids’ educational show Akili & Me; animated series My Better World, which follows the adventures of six African teens as they navigate the complex challenges of school, family and friendship; and youth magazine show The 77%, which highlights the Africans under-35s shaping the continent’s future.

Travel, lifestyle and profile show Jakadan Arewa will also debut, featuring Hausa personalities, musicians and communities in other African countries and beyond.

John Ekainu, Arewa24’s studio general manager, said: “There is no better way to celebrate our sixth anniversary than to treat our viewers to a special collection of new Hausa dramas, kids’ and youth shows, and other family-friendly entertainment programs that anchor our line-up. All of these new shows will be available on the company’s global subscription streaming service Arewa24 On Demand, reaching Hausa speakers around the world.”

Arewa24 also airs Kannywood movies and has licensed a collection of new titles that will be rolled out in the weeks and months ahead.

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Realness reveals 2020 residents

The Realness Institute’s African Screenwriters Residency, which provides African writers with creative support to refine their projects, has announced its residents for this year.

The eight residents come from Morocco, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Sudan and South Africa and will participate in the fifth edition of the programme, which began on July 1 and will run until September 1.

They have been named as Abraham Gezahagne, Hajooj Kuka, Leslie To, Palesa Shongwe, Rene van Rooyen, Rim Mejdi, Thati Peele and Yared Zeleke.

After the residency, the individuals will present their projects at the first-ever virtual edition of the Durban Film Mart, taking place from September 4 to 13 this year. They will also hold one-to-one online meetings with potential partners.

The Realness Institute, which also helps writers to present their projects to industry partners for potential financing and production, has so far supported 30 feature film projects from all over Africa.

Realness Institute co-founder Cait Pansegrouw said: “We are extremely proud that the first two films to be realised after taking part in the programme have gone on to screen at Venice, TIFF, Sundance, IFFR and Berlinale, winning awards and securing international sales.”

Mehret Mandefro, co-founder of the Realness Institute and of partner Truth Aid Media, added that while “the format may have changed, the pedagogical team, framework and spirit of creative incubation will remain the same. The adapted format has given the residency scope to expand its selection, resulting in eight residents being selected in 2020.”

Fellow Realness Institute co-founder Elias Ribeiro said: “In supporting African producers, we see this programme as a catalyst for more Realness projects to be realised and take their place on the world stage. We are committed to building more dynamic ecosystems in cinema in Africa, investigating new business practices, innovative financing and coproduction structures between Africa, Europe and North America.”

Programme manager Asanda Biyana added: “Although we are disappointed to not be returning to our creative home at Nirox in South Africa due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it did not seem like an option to postpone the residency. Cinema and the arts at large are more in need of support than ever before and, with so many of us in national lockdowns, we wanted to surge ahead and use this difficult time to cultivate new stories.”

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Netflix, Abudu link for Nigerian originals

Nigerian producer Mo Abudu has signed a deal with Netflix that will see her develop original titles for the streaming giant.

Mo Abudu

Under the partnership, Abudu and her EbonyLife prodco will create two Netflix original series and multiple Netflix-branded films.

The deal will also result in screen adaptations of literary works by Nigerian authors Lola Shoneyin and Wole Soyinka. Shoneyin’s bestselling debut novel The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives will be adapted as a series, while Soyinka’s Death & the King’s Horseman will be made into a film.

Further details of the other projects have yet to be revealed.

Abudu said: “As a Nigerian storyteller, my biggest motivator has always been to tell authentic and untold stories that resonate with every person, regardless of where they’re from in the world, while showcasing our culture, heritage and creativity.

“This unprecedented partnership is testament to Netflix’s investment in African storytelling, and we at EbonyLife are grateful and excited about the opportunity to work together with Netflix to deliver a slate of unique and riveting stories from Nigeria over the next few years for Netflix audiences around the world.”

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MultiChoice adds musical feature

Pay TV company MultiChoice is adding a new musical feature for customers of its DStv platform.

Mark Rayner

JOOX VIP will allow subscribers to sing along with songs, karaoke style, at the press of a button from now until September 10.

It will offer uninterrupted local and international music hits and will also air live concerts from major stars.

MultiChoice South Africa CEO Mark Rayner said: “This is just another way in which MultiChoice is working to ensure that our loyal and valued customers continue to enjoy the best entertainment during these difficult times.

“Being in lockdown has given us the perfect opportunity to demonstrate our support as we continue to find innovative ways to entertain our customers.”

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NBC warns over ‘indecent’ content

Acting National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) director general Armstrong Idachaba has warned broadcasters against airing content it deems “vulgar, indecent and obscene.”

Armstrong Idachaba

After recently monitoring the transmission of satellite signals, the NBC discovered that some channels were violating its guidelines.

Idachaba said: “It has, therefore, become expedient to remind all broadcasters or operators and users of satellite broadcasting in Nigeria of the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and the act, which are the grand laws for broadcasting in Nigeria.

“We wish to request all pay TV channels to observe the rules on decency of broadcast content. Many pay TV channels carry very vulgar, indecent and obscene content. Broadcasters must take cognisance of the code provisions on watershed.

“The commission warns that unclassified, vulgar and obscene musical videos will not be tolerated, and broadcasters must ensure that musical works are suitable for broadcasting before putting them on air.”

Idachaba added that he appreciated broadcasters’ efforts to provide in-depth coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic, urging them to continue to offer efficient, professional and comprehensive services based on national objectives and aspirations.

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SuperSport to air Premier League matches

Sub-Saharan African pay TV channel SuperSport will broadcast around 350 football matches by the end of July, including games from the returning English Premier League (EPL).

EPL football returns tonight following a three-month break enforced by the coronavirus pandemic. SuperSport’s coverage will include this evening’s clash between Manchester City and Arsenal, as well Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United on Friday and the Merseyside derby, Everton vs Liverpool, on Sunday.

The MultiChoice-owned channel will also air matches from English second tier the Championship and knock-out tournament the FA Cup, plus games from Italy’s Serie A and Europe-wide competition the Champions League.

Games are being played behind closed doors, with strict Covid-19 protocols in place.

In related news, SuperSport has agreed a three-year renewal with motorsport company Formula One. The agreement will see SuperSport broadcast Formula One racing until 2022, while Formula One will deploy its premium pay OTT offering – F1 TV Pro – across the sub-Saharan region.

For several years, SuperSport has been the sole broadcaster of Formula One races across English-speaking countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

The new Formula One season is set to commence on July 3 with the Austrian Grand Prix.

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Netflix takes Blood & Water to S2

Blood & Water comes from Gambit Films

Netflix has ordered a second season of African teen drama series Blood & Water.

Directed by South Africa’s Nosipho Dumisa, Blood & Water is produced by Cape Town’s Gambit Films, led by producers Bradley Joshua and Benjamin Overmeyer as producers.

Season one followed the story of Puleng (played by Ama Qamata), a high-school girl whose sister Phumele was kidnapped by a human-trafficking network many years ago.

Addressing members of the show’s creative team on Instagram, producer Nosipho Dumisa said: “I got a call the other day from some certain people from Netflix and they were like, ‘By the way, we love the show so much we can’t get enough, we’re definitely renewing season two and you guys need to get going.’”

Blood & Water’s cast includes breakout star Khosi Ngema plus experienced actors Qamata, Natasha Thahane, Gail Mabalane, Cindy Mahlangu, Thabang Molaba, Arno Greeff and Dillon Windvogel.

The premiere date for season two has yet to be announced.

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Canal+ takes Love Nature to Africa

Love Nature’s Malawi Wildlife Rescue

Blue Ant-owned 4K natural history channel Love Nature has launched on African pay TV platform Les Bouquets Canal+, making it available across 25 countries in the region.

The carriage deal is part of Love Nature’s expansion throughout EMEA and will provide Les Bouquets Canal+ subscribers with original English-language programming comprising hundreds of hours of wildlife and nature content.

Titles include Malawi Wildlife Rescue (6×60’), Dogs with Extraordinary Jobs (5×60’), Amazing Animal Friends (6×60’), Africa’s Hunters (18×60’) and The Big Dry (3×60’).

Love Nature is available in more than 100 countries, reaching over 200 million homes via traditional pay TV platforms such as Sky, Rogers, Virgin and Starhub and OTT outlets including Amazon Channels, Bilibili and Pluto TV.

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StarTimes, MTN partner on movies, sports

African pay TV operator StarTimes has partnered with MTN Nigeria to offer the telco’s customers a range of movies, series and sports.

Tunde Aina

The agreement will give MTN customers access to more than 100 channels and video-on-demand content via the StarTimes ON and MyMTN apps.

StarTimes Nigeria chief operating officer Tunde Aina said: “With the video-streaming bundles on the StarTimes app, MTN subscribers will enjoy unlimited entertainment and video-on-demand services at a cheaper data price than any other network in Nigeria.

“The package comes with 26 live-streaming channels, including all seven sports channels, showing UEFA Europa League, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Coppa Italia and more; blockbuster movies, cartoons, news and documentaries”

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Pantami urges digital economy progress

Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, Nigeria’s minister of communications and digital economy, has told the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to increase its efforts to ensure the government’s digital economy agenda is realised.

Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami

Pantami’s call for action comes after Umar Garba Danbatta’s recent reappointment as executive vice-chairman of the NCC.

“The proactive decision to recommend Danbatta’s reappointment to the president for approval was to ensure stability in the telecommunications industry and consolidate on the gains and successes already recorded in the industry in the last five years of Danbatta’s leadership as the EVC of NCC,” Pantami said.

The minister urged Danbatta to work effectively with the ministry and agencies to ensure the thorough implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) as well as the new National Broadband Plan (NBP) for 2020 to2025.

With the Covid-19 pandemic seeing many individuals and organisations relying more on digital platforms for work and collaboration, Pantami said President Muhammadu Buhari was currently focusing on boosting the digital economy.

“The success of the commission is our collective responsibility,” he continued. “While we, as a ministry, do our best to formulate general industry policy and supervise the activities of the commission, I will urge the NCC family to be united, remove all lines of demarcation, ensure justice, fairness in all decisions and, above all, ensure harmonious relationships. This task lies on the table of the EVC.

“So, we expect the NCC, as the telecoms regulator, to take the issue of digital economy very seriously and give it all the attention it deserves within the commission.”

In response, Danbatta said: “I consider my reappointment as the EVC of NCC for another five years as an honour and a show of the confidence the honourable minister and the president have in our efforts at NCC in the last five years.

“We would like to assure the honourable minister of our commitment, as a commission, to work with the ministry and other agencies under the ministry’s supervision towards advancing the frontiers of digital economy in Nigeria.”

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NBC fines broadcasters over virus news

Nigeria’s National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has fined three Ondo State broadcast stations for code violations relating to unverifiable claims and a lack of professionalism in broadcasting news about Covid-19.

Armstrong Idachaba

The three operators punished for their reporting on the coronavirus are Breez FM in Akure, which has been fined N250,000, Adaba FM (Akure, two N500,000 fines) and Albarika FM (Illorin, N250,000).

A further 25 stations have also been sanctioned for violating areas of the NBC code dealing with obscenity, political breaches, hate speech, unprofessionalism, advertisement, technical issues and unverifiable claims.

Armstrong Idachaba, acting director general of the NBC, said the sanctions came after the organisation’s Q1 2020 profile of broadcasting stations in the country.

He stressed the need for all broadcasters to adhere strictly to the provisions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and the National Broadcasting Act CAP N11 Laws of the Federation, 2004.

Meanwhile, Idachaba also offered an update on regulation relating to the digital switchover. The NBC is considering a new licence fee regime and broadcast signal distributor carriage fees for digital terrestrial television (DTT) operators.

“The new rates would affect national free-view DTT, regional free-view DTT and local free-view DTT,” he said. “The committee expects all licensed DTT operators to commence payment of the new fees, which are lower than the fees in the analogue era.”

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MultiChoice, Yes invest R50m in job creation

MultiChoice Group has collaborated with the Youth Employment Service (Yes) initiative to create 400 job opportunities for young people in South Africa.

Tashmia Ismail-Saville

The Yes initiative is a business-led collaboration with the government to create work opportunities for unemployed black South Africans between the ages of 18 and 35. MultiChoice will provide candidates with new electronic devices such as laptops so that they can fully participate in the training.

The scheme will create jobs in industries including telecommunications, human resources, engineering, satellite communication, coaching and ICT.

MultiChoice Group CEO Calvo Mawela said: “We have a long history of supporting and investing in programmes that are skewed towards the youth. Through a host of corporate social investment programmes, education, skills development, enterprise development, and sports development initiatives, we are helping to shape a new generation of South Africans who are ready to lead the continent into the next era.

“Our business is all about enriching lives and creating magic; creating spaces where people can imagine and live their dreams. It is an incredible opportunity to be able to translate this magic into something that will benefit the youth of South Africa who will soon be entering the workforce and contributing to our economy. By investing in and developing the youth of South Africa, MultiChoice is helping to shape the industries of the future.”

Tashmia Ismail-Saville, CEO of Yes, added: “MultiChoice is pioneering the behaviours we need to see all companies display in the future, as it embraces true transformation. This Covid-battered economy is seeing unprecedented job losses and economic fallout, and youths are once again going to bear the brunt of this catastrophe.

“We cannot afford to leave another generation behind. The MultiChoice/Yes project is a perfect example of meaningful transformation and how companies can support the country’s way out of the crisis by creating employment opportunities and incomes so desperately needed for our communities to emerge less bruised.”

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StarTimes launches kids’ show

Pay TV operator StarTimes has expanded its kids’ programming with a new show on its ST Kids channel.

Star Kids Gala, a half-hour English-language programme, will premiere on ST Kids today. Its debut follows StarTimes’ recent launch of fellow educational show Homeschooling in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The educational TV programme brought relief to parents whose major headache has been the fear of the educational standard of their wards dropping when offline school is unavailable,” said the company.

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WarnerMedia, StarTimes expand Toonami

US giant WarnerMedia and Chinese-owned African pay TV operator StarTimes have partnered to bring the former’s kids’ channel Toonami to multiple sub-Saharan countries.

Guillaume Coffin

The superhero-focused channel will be available via StarTimes in countries including Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Ghana, Malawi and Mozambique.

Toonami airs series based on popular comic book characters such as Batman, Superman, and the Justice League, plus popular animated series Teen Titans. It also  carries animated feature films such as Batman: Monster Mayhem and All-Star Superman.

Guillaume Coffin, VP and head of commercial and business development at WarnerMedia-owned Turner France, Africa and Israel, said: “WarnerMedia has an existing relationship with StarTimes in French-speaking African regions, which has allowed us to distribute Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Boing, WarnerTV and CNN, among other franchises. We look forward to creating more platforms within this partnership to widen our footprint on the continent.”

Lily Meng, head of StarTimes’ media division, added: “We are delighted to expand our partnership with WarnerMedia toward Anglophone Africa. StarTimes is committed to providing access to high-quality content to all family members, and especially to kids who in many countries have to stay home right now. Toonami comes at the right time to strengthen our kids’ channel portfolio.”

The launch date for Toonami in the aforementioned countries is yet to be announced.

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NBC urges new stations to abide by codes

Nigeria’s National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has urged operators of newly licensed TV outfits to abide by the nation’s broadcasting codes.

Armstrong Idachaba

Acting NBC director general Armstrong Idachaba recently met with Trefoil Networks MD Onochie Amasiani, who was representing the management of recently licensed broadcaster OurTv, at the commission.

During the meeting, held to formally inform NBC management about OurTv and present its set-up box, Idachaba said broadcasters must abide by the NBC’s broadcasting code and avoid divisive content. He also thanked the management of OurTv for their commitment to promoting local content.

‘‘We commend you for your continued commitment to the broadcast industry. I am quite sure you have invested your resources, time and energy in promoting broadcasting in Nigeria,” Idachaba said.

“We are glad that part of what you are putting up is largely indigenous. I take cognisance of the fact you are already creating jobs for the Nigerian youth.

‘‘Be sure that whatever content you carry promote the image of Nigeria, its culture and conditions. You must bring Nigerians together; you must not bring hate or divisiveness. We hope you become good ambassadors representing us at international hub. When you do that, I can assure you that the current management of NBC, and even in the future, will give you all the support you require.”

Amasiani, meanwhile, pledged to partner with the commission to fulfil OurTv’s corporate social responsibilities.

He said: “OurTv is an expression of local content. OurTv was fully integrated in Nigeria by Nigerians [and is] transmitted on the Nigerian satellite Nigcomsat1R, received by set-top boxes made in Nigeria and managed by a Nigerian company.

“We are here to present the baby that NBC licensed to us a couple of years back and to inform the commission that it is alive and kicking and healthy and ready to go.

“We are the pioneer users of NigComSat because we believe in Nigeria and are confident that this has come to stay. The local content and progress made so far has reinforced our belief that this is the way to go.”

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WatsUp TV counts down to Top 10

Pan-African entertainment brand WatsUp TV is launching a music-focused show called Top 10.

ABD Traore

Top 10 will highlight music videos released in Ghana, Nigeria and other African countries, as well as featuring competitions, interviews with celebrities and music video premieres.

Hosted by Champagne Lee, it will air on Max TV and EBN Channel in Ghana.

ABD Traore, CEO of WatsUp TV, said: “The show will feature various creative games that will give the opportunity to viewers and guests to win gifts from sponsors.”

Other shows under the WatsUp TV brand include Official Show, It’s Our Time, Fans Tweet Request, Trending News and Hot Jamz.

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Africa to benefit from new subsea cable

A new subsea cable system aimed at improving internet connectivity in Africa and the Middle East is set to go live between 2023 and 2024.

Alioune Ndiaye

Dubbed 2Africa, the system is a joint effort by China Mobile International, social media giant Facebook, South Africa-based MTN GlobalConnect, international telcos Orange and Vodafone, Telecom Egypt, and the West Indian Ocean Cable Company.

The partners have appointed Alcatel Submarine Networks to build the system, in a fully funded project that will greatly enhance connectivity across Africa and the Middle East.

2Africa will provide nearly three times the total network capacity of all the subsea cables serving Africa today. It will also supplement a rapidly increasing demand for capacity in the Middle East and support further growth of 4G, 5G and broadband access for hundreds of millions of people.

Jessica Gu, director and chief technology officer of China Mobile International, said: “The utmost capacity and faster transmission allows us to satisfy the needs of African nations today and in the future, reflecting our firm commitment to building a global digital life.”

Najam Ahmad, VP of network infrastructure at Facebook, said: “We are excited to be collaborating with our 2Africa partners on the most comprehensive subsea cable that will serve the continent. 2Africa is a major element of our ongoing investment in Africa to bring more people online to a faster internet.

“We have seen first-hand the positive impact that increased connectivity has on communities, from education to healthcare. We know that economies flourish when there is widely accessible internet for businesses. 2Africa is a key pillar supporting this tremendous internet expansion as part of Africa’s surging digital economy.”

Frédéric Schepens, CEO of African mobile company MTN Group’s wholesale operation, MTN GlobalConnect, said: “MTN GlobalConnect is delighted to participate in this bold  project. This initiative complements MTN GlobalConnect’s terrestrial fibre strategy to connect African countries to each other and to the rest of the world. We are proud to be playing a key role in providing the benefits of a modern connected life – a core MTN belief.”

Alioune Ndiaye, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa, added: “As one of the world’s leading multi-service telecommunications operators and present in 18 countries in Africa and the Middle East, it was natural for Orange to be part of the 2Africa project.

“This major investment will complete our existing submarine and Pan-African terrestrial infrastructures to provide access to international connectivity in a redundant fashion throughout the west coast of Africa. It will enable Orange to securely meet the demand for increased bandwidth necessary for the continued digital development of regions throughout the 2Africa system.”