The European Investment Bank has formally agreed to finance the first fibre optic cable connecting Mauritania to Europe and West Africa. The financing agreement was signed today by Tamsyn Barton, Director General of the EIB’s Directorate for Operations outside the European Union, and Sidi Ould Tah, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Development of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.  Lazard Frères were advisors for this project. The European Investment Bank will provide EUR 8 million, around 35% of the overall cost, for the project that will significantly increase internet capacity and reduce internet access costs for consumers.

“The European Investment Bank recognises the immense development value of ensuring high-speed connection between Africa and the rest of the world. Connecting Mauritania to the Africa Coast to Europe, A.C.E. cable will enhance opportunities for Mauritanians”, highlighted Plutarchos Sakellaris, European Investment Bank Vice-President for Africa.

"The signing of this financing agreement represents a major EIB contribution to implementing the Mauritanian government’s infrastructure development policy, especially as regards the national and international rollout of a high-speed transmission network, which is key to modernisation, decentralisation of government and improvement of public services", said Ould Khouna, Minister of Employment, Vocational Training and New Technologies.

"The EU Delegation in Nouakchott welcomes the signing of this project, which will substantially improve Mauritania’s access to the internet and increase its international connectivity, especially between Mauritania and Europe. This project is symbolic of the strengthening of the already well established links between Mauritania and the European Union" said Hans-Georg Gerstenlauer, Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

The Mauritania Submarine Cable Connection will provide alternative and cheaper access to the internet than is currently possible using satellite links currently used in the country. The ACE consortium put together by France Telecom/Orange will build a 17 000 km cable along the west coast of Africa. In Mauritania, the cable will be used by three Mauritanian telecommunications operators and may in the future serve landlocked neighbouring country Mali.

The project will benefit from a EUR 1.6 million interest rate subsidy.

Support for the knowledge economy improves education and contributes to poverty reduction, and is essential for long-term economic growth. In the same sector, through the EU-Africa Infrastructure Fund, the European Investment Bank has helped finance the EASSy cable, which has significantly improved internet access in East Africa.

Notes for Editors:
  • The European Investment Bank, the long-term lending institution of the European Union, whose shareholders are the 27 European Union Member States, has been active across Africa for over 40 years. EIB activities follow policies and objectives set down by European Union Member States, whose Finance Ministers are the EIB’s Governors.
  • Over the last 5 years over EUR 8.6 billion has been provided by the European Investment Bank for projects across Africa.
  • This project forms part of the European Union’s long-term support for infrastructure in Mauritania. The EU is Mauritania’s main partner and infrastructure is its foremost area of cooperation.