History tells us that in the space of twelve years, three Portuguese sailors unlocked the secret routes of Africa by finding a sea passage to the East via the Cape of Good Hope. On the third attempt, Vasco da Gama, finally reached India from Lisbon in 1498 after a voyage lasting almost a year. He succeeded because of a chance meeting with an Arab pilot named Ibn Majib. Majib guided Da Gama from the East Coast of Africa to West Coast of India, giving the Portuguese an alternative spice route and a monopoly on eastern trade.

Today, in the space of just over ten years, submarine fibre optic cables have become the modern vessels for trade and communications between international markets and the African continent.

Now, five hundred years after Da Gama's trail-blazing journey, a new submarine cable system has been established which closely follows the navigators route from Portugal, down the West Coast of Africa, around the Fairest Cape and finally landing in the East at India and Malaysia.

This SAT3/WASC/SAFE cable system is indeed a technology and commercial breakthrough of unparalleled significance for Africa, offering a faster, more efficient trading channel between the continent and international markets.

SAT3/WASC/SAFE is a historic Achievement made possible by the participation of 36 nations, the majority of the landings are in African states. Together they have fully funded the undersea cable system costing more than US$600 million and will own and operate it for the next 25 years. This results in much of the revenue it generates being ploughed back into the continent. This is a major departure from the current scenario, where many African countries rely on foreign operators to route their international traffic which results in revenue generated in Africa, leaving Africa.

This project will help bridge the digital divide between Africa and the developed nations and all the role-players will enjoy the access to knowledge brought about by the information revolution that has already had such a dramatic impact in the West, Europe, and the Far East.It will bring the people of Africa the fast, efficient and affordable communications they need for sustained development and progress.

Telkom is proud to have spearheaded a project that has engendered a co-operative spirit among so many diverse nations.Not only will it support Africa's growing telecommunications requirements,it will also provide a secure, reliable alternate traffic route between Western Europe, the Americas and Asia.

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