The maxi submarine cable between Italy and Africa on the “silk road” of Europe.

After a year and a half of mutual talks and negotiations between member states, the European Union is ready to unveil its Global gateway, a 300 billion euro foreign investment scheme that it hopes to compete with the New Way of Silk. in China, Africa, Asia and South America, as well as in the Western Balkans. There are 70 projects included in the EU’s Global Gateway, among which there is room for an undersea fiber optic cable that will also interest Italy.


The 7,100 kilometers maxi cable Medusa project that will connect Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia to Cyprus, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain on one side. The cost of the investment is 342 million euros. To understand the (economic and geopolitical) importance of this infrastructure, we need to broaden our perspective to the rest of the world: as ISPI writes, “about 97% of global internet traffic passes through undersea cables”. Thanks to them, “about $10 trillion in financial transactions are carried out every day” and “two or more countries physically unite to strengthen their economic ties, bilateral transactions, data exchange and ultimately their political and strategic ties”.

The difficulty of submarine cables

China knows this very well and has entered a market where the US, which now controls more than half of the 426 submarine cables used for data transmission in the world, sees it as a priority. In its China Manufacturing 2025 plan, Beijing has made clear its intention to achieve 60% market share by 2025, and has planned to invest $95 billion in the Digital Silk Road, the technological arm of the Belt and Road initiative, to do so. (By). Through these cables, ISPI writes that China seeks to increase its political dominance in developing countries while simultaneously imposing its technological standards internationally, a “direct challenge to the United States in particular.” “The two main Chinese companies operating in the industry are Hentong and Huawei Marine, which built the Peace submarine cable, one of the most important cables internationally, and an infrastructure of 12,000 km connecting Europe and especially France to Pakistan. Through the Horn of Africa,” explains the Italian think tank.

The EU is after the USA and China

China’s digital activism is a wake-up call for the West, as seen at the G7 in Cornwall in 2021, when the EU, US, UK and Canada pledged to mobilize hundreds of billions. The United States can benefit from tech giants (Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft) that have increased their investment in submarine cables since 2016. In Europe, on the other hand, there is a long delay that needs to be compensated. The global gateway will also serve this purpose. This is why the Medusa project is so central to EU strategy.

Spain is leading the operation, first of all with Afr-Ix telecom (a Barcelona-based group), a consortium of local companies and universities. The consortium tasked French Alcatel, which is part of the Finnish multinational Nokia, to make the cable. According to the European Commission, the infrastructure should be operational by early 2025, with the first connection between Barcelona, ​​\u200b\u200bLisbon and Marseille. Although the cable will be important for consolidating trade relations with Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt, Italy has a more secret role in this project.

other projects

Still on the subject of submarine cables for data transmission, the Global gateway must also find room for a new cable across the Black Sea and the extension of the recently commissioned Bella connecting Portugal and Brazil: the new investment must extend connectivity. Chile and Central America.

The list of 70 EU projects includes investments in the energy and transportation sectors, as well as in the health and education sectors, in addition to digital. Looking at geographical regions, 36 projects concern Sub-Saharan Africa, 14 Latin America and the Caribbean, 13 Asia-Pacific and 7 projects neighboring the EU. The list could be extended to include projects that other Member States plan to include in the strategy.

Source: Today IT