Sunday, June 3, 2012

Fibre optic cable connects to Seychelles

The Seychelles East Africa System fibre optic cable has reached that country Thursday at Beau Vallon Bay, heralding another 'first' for Seychelles together with a new era of transformation in society and the key to the future of the country.

The President James Michel and Vice-President Danny Faure witnessed the arrival and connection of the cable at a ceremony held on the beach in front of La Plage Restaurant.

The event was also attended by the Minister for Natural Resources and Industry, Peter Sinon, the Principal Secretary for Information Communication Technology, Benjamin Choppy, and the Principal Secretary for Presidential Affairs, Lise Bastienne, the Cable & Wireless Chief Executive Officer, Charles Hammond, and the Airtel Seychelles Managing Director, Tsiresy Randriamampionon, together with dignitaries, partners in the project, school children and engineers.

“It is not every day that history is made. And today we are making history, with the arrival of a revolutionary connection of the Seychelles East Africa System.

"It is a milestone in our country’s proud history as an independent nation in the global communication village. It is a special moment which has the potential for transforming our economy and our way of life for the better,” said President Michel in his address following the arrival of the cable.

President Michel noted that this week marked the first anniversary of his second term in Office and that as the Seychellois people elected him on the platform of his commitment to build a New Seychelles, assuring that he would not waver nor be distracted in the pursuit of this goal.

“The transformation of the New Seychelles rests on a knowledge economy, on a knowledge-based society, stimulated by our youth, who live and thrive through IT innovation. Without the proper tools and resources at our disposal, we shall not succeed in our venture.

The arrival of this fibre optic cable is one of the many pillars that will raise the edifice of this New Seychelles, and provide the opportunities for its development….Its connection to our shores today heralds yet another transformation in our society… new opportunities for e-commerce, faster communication as well as business and technological innovation.”

Mr. Michel recalled that Seychelles had become connected to the world for the first time by a telegraph cable some 120 years ago, when the cable was laid between Zanzibar and Seychelles and Aden, and that since then, the major communications technology developments had all propelled the country into societal change in the way that people lived, learned and conducted business.

“We may be living on islands in the Indian Ocean, a thousand miles away from the closest continent, but our information ‘connectivity’ has assured that we steadily become closer to our neighbours, closer to our far-flung relatives and friends, and just a ‘click’ away from every corner of the earth.”

The new cable will dramatically enhance Seychelles' communications facilities. Already known for its eco-tourism and liberal, non-intrusive financial system, the added resources will greatly expand the country's capacity to provide offshore financial services to the global community.

The cable project, which links Seychelles to Tanzania, is a three-party public private partnership, with the participation of the Government of Seychelles, Cable & Wireless (Seychelles) and Airtel (Seychelles).

The project is costing approximately Euro 27 million to implement and this has been financed through equity from the three shareholders and loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The first telegraph cable was laid some 120 years ago between Zanzibar and Seychelles. In 1945 the first radio broadcasts started.

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