Image: Liquid Telecom Group Chief Operating Officer Ahmad Mokhles
A version of this story appears in the April 2019 print issue of CommsMEA.
It’s not often you meet someone who can tell you what their company is all about in only four words. But Liquid Telecom’s Ahmad Mokhles can.
Liquid Telecom is “Building Africa’s digital future,” he says.
“We see a lot of aspirations. We see a lot of ideas.”
Of course, there’s a difference between having goals and ideas and actually delivering on that vision. But Liquid Telecom has been able to put its money where its mouth is – or, in this case, lots of money to achieve lots of very tangible results.
Take what it’s doing with cables. Liquid Telecom along with its partners recently completed the Cape to Cairo terrestrial fibre network. The network – the first terrestrial network in Africa to go all the way overland from south to north – stretches from South Africa (the “Cape” bit) to Egypt (“Cairo”) and is part of Liquid Telecom’s pan African network which is approaching 70,000 kilometres.
Such a “digital corridor” essentially building a link between some of the continent’s biggest economies is just the tip of the iceberg, however, as Mokhles says.
“It’s also about motivating trade. It’s about digital inclusion.”
He says more. “We’ve done the south to the north. Now we need to do the east to the west.”
Hence the plan for a fibre network to go from Cairo to Dakar, Senegal.
“We believe Africa deserves better connectivity,” says Mokhles.
“We believe [Africa] will be the world’s engine for growth. With 1.2 billion people, it will be the engine for growth more than anywhere else [in the world].”
That’s why Liquid Telecom is also involved in many, many more projects. Another example: the Gateway to Africa, which Mokhles says connects Cape Town and Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – with more connections planned.
“We’re a pan-African operator. Our approach for each country is about the value creation for the economy.”