Alcatel-Lucent wins fiber optic deal in Kenya

Alcatel-Lucent signed an optical fiber construction agreement worth $82 million to lay the first telecoms cable connecting east Africa's coast with the rest of the world, a Reuters report said.

The Reuters report said the Kenyan initiative aims to build a 5,000 km submarine cable linking the port city of Mombasa with the United Arab Emirates.

'We are excited that at last the east African region will be connected to the rest of the world,' Bitange Ndemo, permanent secretary in Kenya's Ministry of Communication, quoted by the Reuters report, said.

Construction begins in January, the report added.

The government has reduced its shareholding in the project to 20% to allow more local operators to buy a stake in the cable, he added.

Neighbouring countries, which had initially been invited to take up some shares, will now have to rely on Kenyan operators that had bought into the project, the report said.

Ndemo said Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan and Ethiopia had shown interest.