(Ecofin Agency) - EXIM Bank of India is giving Nigeria $100 million to broaden Internet coverage in rural areas. The fund agreement was signed during the Indian Economic and Technical Cooperation Day, held in Abuja on 17 January 2019.
At least 1,000 solar-powered telecom sites will be installed under this 12-month program. It will be first launched in the State of Oyo, according to the Nigerian Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu (photo).
He said solar-powered telecom sites for this project was the preferred option because “the current masts used by telecom operators are very expensive to maintain. They rely on electricity, and we do not have electricity all around the country.”
“For this reason, we have redirected our effort at getting solar-based masts which will also have 50km radius so that if you have a land area of 100km, you will have two masts. It is cheap to maintain and all operators can depend on it, rather than having the rural operators construct their own masts or lay their own cables,” he explained.
With these new facilities, Adebayo Shittu is confident that the government will achieve 70% broadband penetration rate in the country by 2021, from the current around 30%.
The amount granted to Nigeria is part of the US$10 billion five-year concessional loan that India agreed to provide African states, in 2015, for the implementation of development projects.