" ITREALMS: Nigeria, 10 others to benefit from World Bank N31.3bn backbone project

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Nigeria, 10 others to benefit from World Bank N31.3bn backbone project

Eleven African countries including Nigeria will benefit from the World Bank assisted Central African Backbone Programme (CAB) worth $215 million, about N31.3 billion, under a 10-year initiative.

According to officials of World Bank, Tuesday, Nigeria is eligible to participate in the programme, which included Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Niger, São Tomé and Principe, and Sudan.

Even as the initial phase covers three countries, namely Cameroon, Chad and Central African Republic (CAR) and is worth $26.2 million (about N3,825,200,000.00).

Press officer, World Bank, Ian Larsen, made this disclosure in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online, Tuesday.

Larsen explained that the programme will support the countries of the Central African region in developing their high-speed telecommunications backbone infrastructure to increase the availability of high-speed Internet and reduce end-user prices.

The CAB programme, official said, will also help countries to harmonize the laws and regulations that govern Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector to strengthen private sector investment and improve competition.

The CAB programme, World Bank official disclosed is being supported through a partnership between the World Bank Group and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Also, the programme is aimed at leveraging on an additional US$98 million from the private sector.

In conjunction with the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), the African Union Commission (AUC) is expected to play an important role in facilitating inter-governmental cooperation and policy harmonization.

Additionally, it was gather that the International Finance Corporation (IFC) will assist governments in structuring Public Private Partnerships under the programme.

ITRealms Online recalled that Information and Communications for Development 2009: Extending Reach and Increasing Impact, the World Bank had found that for every 10 percentage-point increase in high speed Internet connections there is an increase in economic growth of 1.3 percentage.

Director, Global Information and Communications Technologies at the World Bank Group, Mohsen Khalil, noted that report also identified mobile platform as the single most powerful way to reach and deliver public and private services to hundreds of millions of people in remote and rural areas across the developing world.

“Ultimately, our goal is to develop regional and national broadband backbones and significantly reduce the cost of ICT services in Central Africa. Through better and affordable connectivity, the aim is to leverage the transformational powers of ICTs to support economic growth, SME development, employment creation, productivity gains and trade integration in the region,” he said.

Khalil was quoted as saying that addition to infrastructure development, the CAB programme will strengthen the capacity of public institutions such as the sectoral ministries and regulatory authorities and will promote a competition-friendly environment by liberalizing the sector and restructuring telecommunications operators.

Further, the programme, he said, is meant to be a model of regional integration and successful public-private partnerships.

“Its design and implementation require the cooperation of several countries and international and regional organizations. Design goals will be to maximize the use of private financing or minimize the use of public financing ensure feasibility and attractiveness of the transaction, and secure open access to regional connectivity infrastructure and ensure competitive, reasonable tariff of international, regional and national capacity,” he outlined.

For the Acting Director for Regional Integration in Africa at the World Bank, Mr. Rick Scobey this programme is a great example of the World Bank’s increasing emphasis on regional infrastructure as part of Africa’s development.

The World Bank Group and African Development Bank (AfDB), in partnership, are committing significant resources and are making in helping to achieve the goals outlined at the October 2007 of Connect Africa Summit.

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1 comment:

Gprofessionals said...

I hope that this news must have come as a gift for all the Nigerians. According to me such projects really boost up the economy of these poor countries. But, I have a suggestion here that we must also something do to make the self reliant, otherwise these countries will always look for outside help.
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