World Bank approves $200 million to expand Ghana’s broadband access


World Bank approves $200 million to expand Ghana's broadband access

The World Bank has approved $200 million to help the Government of Ghana increase access to broadband as part of the Ghana Digital Acceleration Project.

A World bank statement said the funds will also be used to enhance the efficiency and quality of selected digital public services, and strengthen the digital innovation ecosystem in Ghana to help create better jobs and economic opportunities.

Digital is one of Ghana’s best-performing sectors and grew on average by 19 percent per year between 2014 and 2020.

Today the country is among the digital leaders in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Digital Economy diagnostic conducted in 2020 identified key bottlenecks that needs to be removed to further accelerate Ghana’s digital transformation, said the statement.

This newly approved Ghana Digital Acceleration Project is supporting a regulatory shift to create an enabling environment for digital inclusion and innovation; streamline governance and delivery of public services; and facilitate smallholder engagement in data-driven digital agriculture.

“Pierre Laporte, World Bank Country Director for Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone said, “Expanding digital access and adoption, enhancing digital public service delivery, and promoting digitally enabled innovation are essential for Ghana’s digital transformation, which will help drive a robust post-COVID-19 recovery.”

Adds Larpote, “The Ghana Digital Acceleration Project covers all these elements and will help advance the whole-of-government digital transformation agenda to accelerate adoption of digital technologies and innovation by key productive sectors, such as agriculture, to foster an economy-wide digital transformation.”

The project is aimed at strengthening the local digital entrepreneurship ecosystem and improve the survival and growth rate of digital technology-enabled startups, said World Bank.

This goal will be achieved through supporting more effective innovation ecosystem coordination, better service provision by entrepreneur support organizations, expansion of access to early-stage financing, and promotion of advanced digital innovation skills.

The Ghana Digital Acceleration Project is expected to increase access to mobile internet and broadband services of 6 million people by encouraging private sector investment in last-mile connectivity in underserved rural areas, added the statement.

It will also promote digital inclusion for women, persons with disabilities and rural communities through regulatory updates and investments among others. This will help to remove barriers to broadband and digital service access for Ghana’s lowest-income people and to close the regional digital gap.