Statement By The East African Marine Systems (TEAMS) Board Of Directors Regarding The Status Of The Fibre-Optic Cable

Ministry of Information and Communication

Statement by the East African Marine Systems (TEAMS) Board of Directors Regarding the Status of the Fibre-Optic Cable

The attention of the Board of Directors of TEAMS has been drawn to misleading reports appearing in sections of the media regarding the fibre-optic cable TEAMS project.

In the interest of transparency, the Board wishes to set the record straight by stating as follows:
Contrary to the impression created in the said reports, the TEAMS project is on track, entirely above-board and is proceeding apace.

As for the assertion that the Cabinet has transferred billions of shillings worth of TEAMS shares to a selected group and nondescript entities, this is totally untrue. There is a clear and time-honoured procedure of getting Cabinet approvals on such critical decisions and the same were followed to the letter.

Accusing the Cabinet of rubber stamping a privatisation process in reference to TEAMS is insincere. This infamous claim is an allegation that can be made anywhere, any time whenever a Cabinet reaches a decision and that decision leaves out certain interested players.

The ownership of TEAMS is as transparent as it is aboveboard. The Cable is an ongoing concern, it has no tangible assets, as of now, to value — all the stakeholders are taking equal risks in the investment.

For the information of the general public the shareholding of TEAMS is as follows: -
  1. Government of Kenya- 20%
  2. Safaricom - 20%
  3. Telkom/France Telkom - 20%
  4. Econet Wireless - 10%
  5. KDN/Celtel - 10%
  6. Wananchi Online - 10%
  7. Jamii Telkom - 3.75%
  8. Access Kenya - 1.25%
  9. Inhand Ltd - 1.25%
  10. Equip Ltd - 1.25%
  11. Flashcom - 1.25%
  12. Fibrenet Africa - 1.25%
The ownership structure brings on board virtually all the licensed operators in the telecommunications sector in Kenya and some from the region.

In light of the above, it is important to clarify that TEAMS is not exclusively a Government-driven project. Rather, it is an all-sectors initiative, both public and private, to introduce and enhance broadband connectivity in Kenya.

There are several reasons why the TEAMS Project is preferred as opposed to any other fibre-optic project.

Some of them are listed as follows:

The Vision 2030 initiative has identified Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) as one of the flagship projects. For Kenya to become competitive as a BPO hub the price of bandwidth has to be equal to, or less than, that of India or the Philippines, who are the main competitors. The price of bandwidth can only come down significantly if fibre optic cable is constructed.

The Government policy of achieving universal access to information has been frustrated by the absence of fibre-optic cable networks. The fibre-optic communication infrastructure is expensive to build and the government had an obligation to facilitate the construction of the necessary infrastructure in order for the Information and Communication Technology sector to grow, hence the involvement in TEAMS Project.

The Board wishes to clarify that the involvement of the Government is for regulation purposes to avoid collusion by operators in price fixing as has happened in other projects of a not dissimilar nature.

Regarding the claim that a barter arrangement has been entered into between Etisalat of the UAE and the Kenya Government, nothing could be further from the truth. The correct and true position is that each party is applying for landing rights in their respective countries — i.e. Etisalat in the UAE and TEAMS in Kenya.

In conclusion, from the foregoing it is evident that the continued campaign appearing in the local daily newspapers and in the EastAfrican weekly to discredit the TEAMS Project is based on information which is not well researched and which manifestly has the objective of derailing a home-grown project for lack of patriotism.


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