Today at the Global Gateway Forum, the European Investment Bank signed the €40 million investment grant provided by the European Commission with GÉANT, coordinator of the European National Research and Education Network and AFR-IX, who will be executing the infrastructure project to bolster digital connectivity between North Africa and the European Union through the €342 “MEDUSA” Submarine Cable Project.
This is an additional important step in the concrete implementation of this project, following the announcement of cooperation in November 2022 (press release), and the recent signing of a Contribution Agreement between the European Commission and the European Investment Bank to provide €40 million from the Neighbourhood Investment Platform to this high-speed digital connection initiative.
These agreements, which are a deliverable of the Economic and Investment Plan for the Southern Neighbours, are also a tangible expression of Europe’s Global Gateway strategy to boost smart, clean and secure digitalisation, while enhancing prosperity and security within and beyond Europe. The fibre optic cable will provide high quality connectivity capacity, via submarine cable and direct terrestrial links to universities and education and research centres in North Africa Countries. Furthermore, “MEDUSA” will foster ties with EU peer organisations and enhance scientific knowledge exchange, hence boosting innovation, research and job creation in the region.
The signing parties reiterated their dedication to the successful completion of the project, emphasising its potential to transform the digital landscape of the Mediterranean region, while achieving broader regional integration and development goals.
President of the EIB, Werner Hoyer said: “The Medusa Submarine Cable Project is not just a technological advancement; it represents a bridge of cooperation and shared vision between North Africa and the EU. By improving digital access, the project aims to foster economic growth, innovation, and collaboration across borders as well as creating opportunities for all. I am proud that EIB, as the EU Bank, is contributing to this.”
European Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi said: “Connectivity is the essence of our Economic and Investment Plans designed to address our partners’ needs. Through the EUR 342 million Medusa Submarine Cable Project, for the first time, we connect the North and the South shores of the Mediterranean Sea. This project is a great example of how we can collaborate to implement impactful, future-proof projects that can connect and provide great opportunities for enhancing the links between about 500 Universities, institutes of education, research centres, and about 4.5 million students. The Medusa project will also boost the region’s economic and social development, attracting further investments.”
The “MEDUSA” project, developed by AFR-IX telecom and manufactured by Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), will be the Mediterranean's most extensive submarine cable initiative to date. Stretching over 7,100 km, this state-of-the-art, high-capacity optical-fibre submarine cable will connect both shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The project is expected to be operational between 2025 and early 2026, with a design life of 25 years.
EIB Global is the EIB Group’s specialised arm dedicated to operations outside the EU and a key partner of the EU’s Global Gateway strategy. We aim to support at least €100 billion of investment by the end of 2027, around one third of the overall target of Global Gateway. Within Team Europe, EIB Global fosters strong, focused partnerships alongside fellow development finance institutions, and civil society. EIB Global brings the Group closer to local communities, companies and institutions through our offices across the world.
The Global Gateway Forum brings together for the first time an assembly of government representatives from the European Union and across the globe, alongside key stakeholders from the private sector, civil society, thought leaders, financial institutions, and international organisations to promote global investment in transformative infrastructure – hard and soft- to deliver on SDGs.
Global Gateway is the EU’s positive offer to reduce the worldwide investment gap and boost smart, clean and secure connections in digital, energy and transport sectors, and to strengthen health, education and research systems. The Global Gateway strategy embodies a Team Europe approach that brings together the European Union, EU Member States, and European development finance institutions. Together, it aims to mobilize up to €300 billion in public and private investments from 2021 to 2027, creating essential links rather than dependencies, and closing the global investment gap.
Today, in the margins of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Regional Forum and the EU-Southern Neighbourhood Ministerial meeting, the European Commission signed an agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB) for a €40 million EU grant to support a high-speed fibre-optic connection under the Mediterranean as part of the “MEDUSA” project supported by the EU’s Economic and Investment plan for the Southern Neighbourhood.
At the Global Gateway Forum, EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi and European Investment Bank (EIB) President Werner Hoyer formalised a financial package by which the European Commission will provide a grant of €16 million, through EIB Global, to improve road safety in Georgia along the country’s East-West highway.