Release date: 28 September 2021
Promoter – Financial IntermediaryAFR-IX TELECOM SAU
The project concerns the construction and deployment of a submarine cable system interconnecting five European countries (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Cyprus) with four North African countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt). In addition to providing a significant upgrade of the connectivity among the targeted countries, the project will specifically include direct terrestrial links from the submarine cable landing stations in the North African countries to their national research and education networks. The system will be operated on an open access basis, subject to local regulations, it will have a total length of 7,100 km and will include 12 landing points in the nine countries mentioned.
The project will deploy ultra-high capacity mesh connectivity between the countries of Southern Europe and North Africa. The cable system will also cater to the needs of high-quality and capacity inter-European connectivity. The landing points can potentially experience a significant development in ancillary infrastructure (e.g. data centres, connections to other networks). The project will give access to a critical information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and enable the participation in the Information Society to the population of countries in the North Africa region (including Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and Algeria), as well as five member states (Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Cyprus). The project will also benefit from an EU contribution financed from the Neighbourhood Investment facility (NIP) of EUR 40 million, As a result of this contribution, research centres in the southern neighbourhood will connect with peers in the region and Europe and public administrations in the southern neighbourhood will have access to secured and reliable connectivity. The investment in innovation and infrastructure contributes to inclusive and sustainable economic growth, favours gender equality and women's advancement in the economy, and increases productivity.
- Telecom - Information and communication
Proposed EIB finance (Approximate amount)
EUR 100 million
Total cost (Approximate amount)
EUR 342 million
Investments in telecommunications projects do not fall under Annex I or II of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive 2014/52/EU amending the Directive 2011/92/EU. Usually, the deployment of telecommunication infrastructures have limited environmental effects, apart from minor disturbances during construction, which can be properly mitigated by applying industry-standard measures. For the specific case of submarine cables, the cable landings are usually subject to environmental studies for their approval. This can vary depending on the jurisdiction. The relevant legislations and full environmental details will be analysed during appraisal.
The Promoter has been assessed by the EIB as being a private company not subject to EU rules on public procurement or concessions. However, if after the project appraisal, the EIB were to conclude that the Promoter is after all subject to EU public procurement legislation then the Bank would duly inform the Commission Services and would require the Promoter to apply those rules.
Signed - 21/12/2022
Before financing approval by the Board of Directors, and before loan signature, projects are under appraisal and negotiation. The data provided on this page is therefore indicative and cannot be considered to represent official EIB policy (see also the Explanatory notes).