Funke Opeke at MainOne: Bridging the Digital Divide in Africa

Funke Opeke at MainOne: Bridging the Digital Divide in Africa
Case Code: LDEN201
Case Length: 11 Pages
Period: 2005-2023
Pub Date: 2023
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.300
Organization : The MainOne Cable Company
Industry :Technology & Communications
Countries : Nigeria,Ghana,Cote D'Ivoire
Themes: Leadership Style Strategic Leadership, Women in Leadership,Organizational Crisis,Entrepreneurship
Funke Opeke at MainOne: Bridging the Digital Divide in Africa
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


Funke Opeke

Opeke was born in 1961 in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. Her early years were spent in Ibadan. Opeke's mother worked as a teacher, while her father served as the first Nigerian director of the Nigerian Cocoa Research Institute . She was part of a nine-member family, five girls and two boys, where discipline was paramount and lying led to severe punishments..

Moving Back to Nigeria – A Watershed Moment

Nigeria began to liberalize and open up in the first decade of the twenty first century. Opeke got an opportunity to meet the leadership of MTN, a mobile network operator in Africa, who interviewed her and offered her the position of Chief Technical Officer in MTN Nigeria in 2005. Opeke moved out of the company within a few months due to red tape and corruption in Nigeria..

Early Challenges

According to Opeke, raising capital was a major challenge since telecom infrastructure projects were capital intensive. When MainOne planned its first project to build an undersea cable in 2008, it needed to raise USD240 million..

Telecom Infrastructure Development

In 2008, with support from Adeola, Opeke founded The MainOne Cable Company (MainOne). In the first phase of the project, Ghana’s capital Accra and Nigeria’s capital Lagos were connected to the London Internet Exchange from a connecting station in Seixal, Portugal, through an undersea cable and terrestrial landing sites. Early support for the project came from Adeola, who was the founder of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) in Nigeria..


The sustained effort of the company and Opeke led to a significant impact being made on the development of the digital ecosystem in Nigeria..

Leadership Recognition

Global business magazine Forbes mentioned Opeke in its list of the World’s Top 50 Women in Technology in 2018. The list included prominent female leaders like Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM; Sarah Clatterbuck..

Future Outlook

A report from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2021, mentioned that the gap in mobile usage was the major contributor to the digital divide in Africa..


Exhibit I: Mobile Internet connectivity in sub Saharan Africa, 2021
Exhibit II: MainOne’s Footprint in West Africa
Exhibit III: Milestones at MainOne
Exhibit IV: Funke Opeke’s Awards and Accolades

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