Gambia will switch on its link to the international submarine fibre-optic cable system Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) on 19 December 2012, the country’s Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure announced in a 6 December press conference, reported by Agence Ecofin. The ministry said it expected the new international infrastructure to transform the country’s ICT sector via better voice/data connectivity, faster internet speeds, lower-cost national and international voice calls, as well as job creation. Lamin Camara, deputy permanent secretary at the ministry, confirmed that private companies contributed 51% of national investment in the ACE connectivity project while the government provided 49%, helped by a grant of USD25 million from the World Bank. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that Gambia joined the ACE consortium cable project in December 2008, when state-controlled Gambia Telecommunications Company (Gamtel) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the acquisition of a submarine cable landing point, and in June 2010 Gamtel entered into the consortium’s construction and maintenance agreement with Alcatel-Lucent to complete the rollout of ACE (initially scheduled by July 2012 but delayed), before landing the cable in the country in September 2011. ACE, connecting 23 countries spanning from South Africa to France, will remove Gamtel’s reliance on its connections via Senegal and satellite, both of which are relatively expensive and low-capacity, GlobalComms adds.