Google announced today to build the Umoja subsea cable system, the first ever fiber optic route to directly connect Africa with Australia, linking Australia to South Africa via subsea cable, and onwards to Kenya via terrestrial cable. Google's Umoja and Equiano systems form its Africa Connect initiative.

Umoja is the Swahili word for unity.

The Umoja cable route passes through Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, including the Google Cloud region, before crossing the Indian Ocean to Australia.

The Umoja cable system is part of Google's Africa Connect initiative, which now includes Umoja and Equiano cable systems. The Equiano cable system has been ready for service since March 2023.

Google has collaborated with Liquid Intelligent Technologies on Umoja’s terrestrial path, formimg a highly scalable route through Africa, including access points that will allow other countries to take advantage of the network. 

Umoja will enable African countries to more reliably connect with each other and the rest of the world. Establishing a new route distinct from existing connectivity routes is critical to maintaining a resilient network for a region that has historically experienced high-impact outages. 

Umoja subsea cable route, Image courtesy: Google


In addition to the Umoja subsea cable system, Google will sign a Statement of Collaboration with Kenya’s Ministry of Information Communications and The Digital Economy to accelerate joint efforts in cybersecurity, growing data-driven innovation, digital upskilling, and responsibly and safely deploying AI for societal benefits.

As part of the collaboration, Google Cloud and Kenya are announcing that they intend to work together on strengthening Kenya’s cybersecurity. The Department of Immigration & Citizen Services is evaluating Google Cloud’s CyberShield solution and Mandiant expertise to strengthen the defense of its eCitizen platform. CyberShield enables governments to build enhanced cyberthreat capabilities, protect web-facing infrastructure, and helps teams develop skills and processes that drive effective security operations.

Google opened its first Sub-Saharan Africa office in Nairobi in 2007. Since then, Google has long recognized the critical role investments in secure technology infrastructure have on connecting communities, expanding education, and driving healthy economic development within Africa and around the world. 

In 2021, Google committed to invest $1 billion in Africa over five years to support a range of efforts, from improved connectivity to investment in startups, to help boost Africa’s digital transformation. Since then, Google has invested more than $900 million in the region, and Google expects to fulfill the commitment by 2026.