Mukund Dhar_Marcus Booth

White & Case Advises Africa50 on East2West Fiber Optic Project 

Global law firm White & Case has provided legal counsel to Africa50 in its partnership with Bayobab to advance Project East2West. This ambitious initiative aims to establish a terrestrial fiber optic cable network connecting the eastern and western coasts of Africa. 

White & Case’s Head of the Africa Practice, Mukund Dhar, who co-led the firm’s team for this project, emphasized the significance of Project East2West, stating that its successful completion would enhance Africa’s internet capacity and unleash its digital potential. Dhar added that this partnership exemplifies the positive impact Africa50 is making across the continent. 

Over the years 2023, 2024, and 2025, this collaboration will see an investment of up to $320 million to link ten African countries. The resulting network promises substantial improvements in data traffic for internet service providers, mobile network operators, and hyperscalers operating in these nations. Additionally, it will help alleviate global internet traffic bottlenecks entering and exiting Africa, reducing latency by nearly two-thirds. 

Africa50 is an infrastructure investment platform dedicated to fostering Africa’s development by initiating and financing feasible projects. The organization leverages public sector resources and mobilizes private sector investments to achieve financial returns and societal impact. Presently, Africa50 boasts 34 shareholders, consisting of 31 African nations. 

Bayobab, previously known as MTN GlobalConnect, is a pan-African digital connectivity solutions company founded in 2018 and wholly owned by MTN Group. This investment is within MTN’s previously announced Ambition 2025 plans and will contribute to Bayobab reaching the Group’s target of having 135,000 kilometres of proprietary fibre over the coming three years. 

The White & Case team which advised on the transaction was led by partners Mukund Dhar (London, pictured) and Marcus Booth (Dubai, London, pictured) and included local partner Fraser Galloway (Dubai), counsel Joanna Hayward (London) and associates Christopher Thorn, Thomas Jacques (both Dubai), Camille Fouque, Omar Sinaceur (both Paris) and Ruveena Kaliannan (London).