Internet Outages Strike East and South African Nations

Several different nations in eastern and southern Africa have reported internet outages and/or slow speeds, disrupting services throughout the region.

Disrupted Services

10 different east and south African nations, and one French overseas department, have suffered internet disruptions as two undersea fibre cables which service the nations have seemingly been cut. One cable is approximately 28 miles off the coast of Durban, a South African port city. The two cables disrupted were the East Africa Submarine System (EASSy) and SEACOM.

Authorities have ruled out sabotage as a cause behind the cuts, however the exact reason the cables were cut is presently under investigation.

In order to mitigate the issues, a number of companies have attempted to divert data from the two cut cables to cables originating from Europe. This solution does not work for all, however, as many large companies which operate in east Africa have data centres in South Africa, making the EASSy link of vital importance.

Tanzania, as well as the French island of Mayotte, were the worst hit with Tanzania’s connectivity falling to 29% at its lowest.

The outage caused the US embassy within Tanzania to close for May 14th and 15th, although they remained open for any emergency matters.

“Due to degraded network service nationwide, the embassy will remain closed to the public. All consular appointments on May 14 & 15 will be cancelled and rescheduled to a later date. The consular section will be open as scheduled for visa pick up and for emergency American citizen cases” -the US embassy in Tanzania

The areas facing disruptions, in order of most to least affected, are: Tanzania, Mayotte (the French overseas department), Mozambique, Malawi, Burundi, Madagascar, Comoros, Rwanda, Uganda, Somalia, and Kenya.

This current outage follows a similar outage that struck west Africa in March, also at the hands of an undersea cable being cut, that affected a number of different countries.

Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray is a published journalist and historicist with over 5 years experience in writing. His primary focus is on East and West African affairs.


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