USTDA Partner With Wilken Group to Bridge Internet Affordability

In a collaborative effort to address the Internet affordability gap in Kenya, the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and Kenyan telecoms company Wilken Group signed a grant agreement for a feasibility study.

USTDA Partner With Wilken Group to Bridge Internet Affordability
USTDA Partner With Wilken Group to Bridge Internet Affordability

The study aims to assess the feasibility of establishing new fibre optic and 5G infrastructure along the Mombasa-Malaba corridor.

Anticipated Surge in Demand for Fibre

Funded by USTDA, the study will evaluate the potential installation of a wholesale open-access fibre optic network and multiple 5G-capable towers spanning approximately 730 miles (1,170 km) alongside the railway route.

With the anticipated surge in demand for fibre connectivity in the region, the study seeks to address the capacity constraints of the existing infrastructure.

According to USTDA, this initiative aligns with the priorities of the Biden-Harris Administration, including the Digital Transformation with Africa initiative, Prosper Africa, and the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment.

It also follows through on commitments made at the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in December 2022.

US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo witnessed the grant signing ceremony at the 2024 American Chamber of Commerce Business Summit in Nairobi, Kenya.

Validating Capacity Demand

USTDA’s Director, Enoh T. Ebong, emphasized the significance of the partnership with the Wilken Group in addressing the growing demand for secure, affordable, and high-quality Internet connectivity, which is pivotal for catalyzing economic growth.

He noted that USTDA’s support for the project provides an opportunity for US companies to actively engage in East Africa’s digital infrastructure markets.

Graham Shaw, CEO of Wilken Group, expressed appreciation for USTDA’s grant funding, highlighting its role in validating capacity demand and measuring project impact nationally. He underscored the grant’s contribution to the Government of Kenya’s mandate to enhance the digital space.

US Ambassador to Kenya, Meg Whitman, emphasized the critical importance of reliable connectivity to economic prosperity in Africa.

She lauded the USTDA grant as a demonstration of the United States‘ commitment to collaborating with Kenya in developing digital infrastructure that empowers its citizens.



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