UUNet Technologies Inc. plans to expand its presence in Africa, rolling out Internet infrastructure in more than a dozen sub-Saharan African countries this year.

The company has been in South Africa since 1993 and operates in various of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) nations, but recently announced its new effort aimed at gaining ground in 2001. UUNet aims to expand into Ghana, Cote d’Ivorie, Kenya, Swaziland, Namibia, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Tanzania and further plans to add six more nations to that list, the company, which is owned by WorldCom Inc., said.

In 2000, UUNet bought shares in Botswana’s leading ISP (Internet service provider), Interswana, and also consulted with the United Nations about setting up Internet backbone in Nigeria.

The company said it wants to set up an infrastructure so that Internet users can have e-mail directly routed from African country to Africa country without having to first have mail sent through the United States, which is the case now.

UUNet, based in Ashburn, Va., can be reached at http://www.uunet.com/.