Liquid Intelligent Technologies, a business of Cassava Technologies, announced a new collaboration to deliver internet access to 20 million underserved people in Africa by the end of 2025, with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft). Working together through Microsoft’s Airband initiative, the new collaboration will initially target regions that include but are not limited to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, and Zambia. Additionally, the partnership will allow for increased proliferation of high-speed connectivity to the farthest parts of Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.
Working together, the companies will empower individuals and businesses in some of the United Nations’ least developed countries to help bridge the digital divide and assist in transitioning more African countries into the digital economy.
“Access to high-speed connectivity is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity. With a fibre backbone of over 100,000 km across the continent, Liquid is uniquely positioned to bring high-speed connectivity to the remotest of communities. Our vision is to create a digitally connected future that leaves no African behind, and this is just one more investment from us to realise the vision,” said Nic Rudnick, Group Deputy Chairman of Liquid Intelligent Technologies.
The effort will be discussed during a panel discussion at the Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5). According to the International Telecommunication Union, roughly 2.7 billion people globally remain unconnected because it’s either unavailable or they can’t afford it. Rural areas around the world are especially disadvantaged, as traditional telecom infrastructure fails to go the final mile in low-density regions.
“Internet access is a fundamental right, enabling economic opportunity and development. This new collaboration with Liquid Intelligent Technologies builds upon our existing collaboration to catalyse economic growth and development in Africa, enabling us to accelerate our efforts to extend high-speed internet to a quarter of a billion people by the end of 2025, including 100 million in Africa.” said Vickie Robinson, General Manager of Microsoft’s Airband Initiative. “We know strategic partnerships are key to advancing access to connectivity and digital equity, especially in the world’s most critical markets.”
Microsoft’s Airband Initiative partners with a wide-ranging ecosystem of organisations to design, implement and support programs that deliver unique connectivity solutions designed for local communities and their challenges. This includes working with broadband providers, local ISPs, energy partners, international organisations and local governments to deliver internet access in unserved or underserved communities worldwide.
While the accelerated adoption of digital technologies on the continent has increased exponentially, it has also exacerbated the digital divide in Africa, as none of these technologies can be optimally used unless Africans have access to high-speed connectivity. These efforts by Microsoft and Liquid will play a critical role in helping to secure the future of Africans on the continent, thus paving the way for a true, digitally inclusive economy.