Orange launches first pan-West-African fibre network

By Joanna England
The project recently won the Terrestrial Project of the Year Award at the Global Carrier Awards...

Multinational telecommunications leader, Orange, has announced the launch of the first pan-West-African cable network, called Djoliba.

The new fibre optic network, which recently won the Terrestrial Project of the Year Award at the Global Carrier Awards for its use of technical innovations in challenging areas, comprises a network of terrestrial and undersea cables providing secure connectivity internationally from the West African region. 

The French telecom giant, which currently serves around 266mn customers worldwide, says the investment will support the digital ecosystem and supply the increasing demand for telecom services across the continent. Orange currently has a presence in 18 African countries providing a local customer base of 12mn. Continued investment is also forecast for the region.


Image Courtesy of Orange


Djoliba is the first network to provide an impenetrable, secure connection in West Africa. The project comprises more than 10,000 km of terrestrial fibre optic network and 10,000 km of undersea cables, superfast broadband provision, and a 99.99% availability rate.  

The implementation covers eight West African countries, namely: Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Burkina Faso and the Côte d’Ivoire. Users will also enjoy improved availability, efficiency, and responsiveness due to network redundancy and security.

Based on Orange’s Tier 1 network, Djoliba also covers a grid of 155 technical sites, with 16 points of presence that connect to 300 points of presence in Europe, America and Asia. Djoliba is operated and maintained from Dakar in a dedicated supervision hub. 

Game changer

Historically, telecom networks in West Africa have been built inside each country, up to its borders, without the option for a cross-border network. Providing services between two capitals meant operators had to integrate the offers of several providers and join several different networks which were interconnected at the borders.  

Djoliba simplifies the process because it is locally interconnected with the current domestic networks, stabilising and generalising access to connectivity for operators and companies. 

Business leaders hope the new telecoms network will help stimulate the digital economy in a region which currently has a population of 330mn people. Djoliba network users will be able to access Orange Group’s platforms and benefit from IP transit, mobile service platforms, hosting in Orange data centres in Africa, VPN and more.

Alioune Ndiaye, CEO Orange Middle East and Africa explained that, “Orange is actively contributing to the development of undersea and terrestrial infrastructure which enable the African continent’s digital transformation, by investing $1.184bn each year.” 

Ndiaye added that the new network would provide essential services to social welfare organisations and services. 

He continued: “With Djoliba, local populations will be able to access healthcare or educational services more easily, as well as the applications offered by cloud computing. Development of access to digital technology is a key challenge for Africa and I would like to congratulate our teams in all the countries for their remarkable work that has enabled the Djoliba project to come to fruition.” 

Jérôme Barré, CEO Orange Wholesale and International Networks said, “Orange is once again confirming its expertise and leadership in the deployment and operation of international terrestrial and undersea networks. Consequently, all the operators, companies and institutions in West Africa now benefit from seamless connectivity that is open to the whole world, thanks to a single customer point of contact.”

Barré added: “Djoliba is the fruit of a group effort, and thanks to a fully mobilised cross-functional team, we have been able to meet this sizable challenge.” 


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