(Ecofin Agency) - World Banks’ International Development Association (IDA) approved the disbursement of $100 million (CFA57.8 billion) to help Niger accelerate its digital transformation.
According to a statement issued by the institution, this support -which is composed equally of a loan and a grant- will be invested in a program to modernize the economy and improve access to essential services. The World Bank said Niger has one of the lowest phone coverage rates in Africa due to the lack of sufficiently developed digital infrastructures.
The project is aimed at deploying more resilient infrastructures and generating innovations to increase citizens' access to essential social services, while improving the well-being of populations, including in the poorest and most fragile regions. Also, this support will be useful for the “Smart Villages” project, which aims to improve access to mobile telephony and broadband services in rural areas and, at the same time, bring paperless financial services to some of Niger's underserved regions.
According to Tim Kelly, Senior Digital Development Specialist at the World Bank, “the pandemic has revealed the urgency of accelerating the digital transformation to enable countries like Niger to keep the private sector active and save lives and jobs. By ensuring that all citizens have access to quality and affordable internet connection, that online public services are easily accessible, and that the digital economy drives growth, innovation, and job creation, this new project will help Niger harness its potential for digital development.”