Praia – Cabo Verde, 16th December 2022 – The first (1st) Steering Committee Meeting on the Amilcar Cabral Submarine Cable project was held on 16th December, 2022 in Praia, Cabo Verde. This meeting was preceded by an Experts Meeting held on 14-15 December 2022. The project aims to provide the Member States of Cabo Verde, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone by with a subsea fibre optic cable which will Increase international broadband capacity and guarantee redundancy in the concerned countries. The objective of the meeting was review the progress of the project preparation, examine draft Project Memorandum of Understanding and adopt the Project Road Map.

The Meeting was attended by Honourable Ministers in charge of telecommunication / digitalization and their representatives. Also in attendance was the ECOWAS Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and Digitalisation of the ECOWAS Commission – Sediko DOUKA and Development Partners.

The opening ceremony was marked by a welcome statement by Mr. Sediko DOUKA, ECOWAS Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and Digitalization and brief statements by Ministers or their representatives from The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone.  The Opening Statement was delivered by His Excellency Olavo CORREIA, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Economy of the Republic of Cabo Verde.

The Honorable Ministers emphasized the need for redundancy for the countries with only one international cable connection and affirmed their full support and commitment to the development of the Amilcar Cabral submarine cable project.

The meeting formally established the Ministerial Steering Committee of the Amilcar Cabral Submarine Cable Project. The committee comprises of the Ministers responsible for Telecommunications/ ICT/ Digitalization of Cabo Verde, The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Cabo Verde was unanimously nominated by the participating countries as Chairman of the Ministerial Steering Committee and Experts Committee

The Honourable Ministers  unanimously adopted the Experts report and the recommendations therein. The Honourable Ministers decided to formally establish a project experts committee comprising members of the Ad hoc Technical committee to work with the ECOWAS Commission on the preparatory activities.

On the draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the Honourable Ministers decided the following:

a.   The MOU is to be reviewed by legal experts to realign the language.

b.   The establishment of the Ministerial Steering Committee and Experts Committee should be reflected as an article in the MOU.

c.    Following the recommended amendments, the MOU should be sent to all the countries before end of December, 2022 for signature by 28th February 2023.

The Ministers reviewed and approved the project delivery roadmap, and instructed the ECOWAS Commission to explore all avenues to expedite the implementation of the activities therein. In particular, the Ministers instructed that activities under the legal and institutional framework workstream should be concluded by December 2023. This includes the preparation and adoption of Project Treaty and Inter-Governmental Agreement.

In conclusion, the Honourable Ministers and the ECOWAS Commission thanked the  Government of the Republic of Cabo Verde its support and hosting the Meeting as well as the Leadership of the Chairman of the Steering Committee