In pursuit of its strategic orientation, Bird & Bird has recently been advising on some major infrastructure projects in Africa. As a matter of fact, since Africa is now connected by 5 new submarine cables, important infrastructure deployments i.e. cable landing stations, terrestrial transmissions networks and points of international interconnections are in progress.
A Paris telecoms team is assisting the Mauritanian authorities in setting up a Private Public Partnership for deployment of national backbone in the country. The purpose of this project is to roll out the missing segments of national backbone in order to complete existing fibre optic networks deployed by national operators or alternative infrastructures held by electric or mining companies. The project benefits from financing by the Word Bank and the European Investment Bank.
Moreover, the Paris team is currently concluding an agreement with the Liberian authorities for legal assistance regarding divestiture of government shares in the Cable consortium of Liberia (CCL).
A London corporate team has recently acted for Liquid Telecommunications Limited in its purchase of certain East African and Mauritian subsidiaries of Altech, a company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. The combination of Liquid and Altech networks will create the African continent's largest single terrestrial fibre optic network. In many cases, this will be the first time companies have been able to obtain point to point connectivity between a virtually unprecedented number of African countries.
And last but not least, Katia Duhamel is conducting a study on access to cable landing stations and international capacity from landlocked ECOWAS countries. The study is a part of a HIPSSA project, funded by the European Union and International Telecommunications Union, the aim of which is to develop and harmonise ITC policies and frameworks in Sub-Saharan Africa.