Ambassador Randi Charno Levine Remarks at Google’s Equiano Cable Ceremony

(As prepared.)

Good afternoon Prime Minister António Costa, Minister Pedro Nuno Santo, and invited guests.  It is a pleasure to be here to celebrate the start of construction on the Equiano undersea cable.  This project is yet another example of the strong ties between our countries and the benefits of the United States and Portugal partnering in infrastructure and the digital space.

As many of you might know, I arrived as U.S. Ambassador in Portugal almost a month to this day.  It has been a busy month leveraging opportunities across different areas to move the U.S.-Portugal relationship forward.  I stand here proud to say that cooperation within the digital space stands at the forefront of my priorities as U.S. Ambassador.

As someone who is passionate about developing people to people exchange, I am heartened about the benefits of Equiano.  Indeed, improved connectivity and access to digital technologies provides significant economic and social benefits and are key enablers of sustainable development.  

They also help increase the availability of digital government services, particularly in education and health, and provide businesses and households with improved access to services, information and trade, and employment opportunities.  When our companies work together in the digital space, it only enhances our transatlantic relationship and economies. I applaud Google for partnering with Europe’s Alcatel Submarine Networks to build Equiano.  

It exemplifies the importance of using trusted vendors based in countries with due process and respect for the rule of law to build secure future communication networks.  As you can see in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, access to the internet is critical and needs to be protected.  

Just like 5G networks, undersea cables are important to our infrastructure security.  It is to our benefit, especially as NATO allies, to use trusted vendors in our future communication networks, as is being done with Equiano. 

I am optimistic for the future, as U.S. companies, such as Google, continually invest in Portugal.   Beyond connecting Africa and Europe, Equiano further entrenches Portugal as a leading European hub for digital investments.  Side-by-side, we are expanding connectivity and facilitating critical cross-border digital trade.  

On behalf of the United States, our gratitude and applause to Google and the Portuguese Government for collaborating to bring this project to reality and exemplifying the benefits of U.S.-Portuguese collaboration in building our promising digital future.   Thank You.