- A newly approved $100 million credit by the World Bank will support the government of Benin’s efforts to improve access to broadband services in rural communities.
- Additionally, the funds will be used to promote the use of digital solutions to improve efficiency of selected value-chains, financial inclusion and access to markets.
The Digital Rural Transformation Project will contribute to increase the productivity and competitiveness of two sectors identified as key enablers of growth: agriculture and ICT.
The project is envisaged to help Benin extend ICT connectivity and access to digital services in rural areas, including the enhancement of the metropolitan fibre optic loop in the city of Parakou and the densification of the fibre optic infrastructure in downtown and suburban areas of Parakou.
The project will also support the rehabilitation of about 600 km of rural roads and maintenance of about 2,400 km in a period of four years within the main production areas covered by the project.
It will contribute to women’s economic empowerment in agriculture, through the extension of digital connectivity to their communities and provide alternative sources of electrification through solar panels and other innovative and sustainable options.
The project will foster the uptake of digital financial services in rural areas, with a focus on women in the agricultural sector.
It is aligned with the Benin National Plan (2018-2025), the Government’s action plan (PAG 2016-2021) and consistent with the World Bank’s Benin Country Partnership Framework (CPF 2018-2023).
It is part of the larger World Bank strategy to accelerate digital transformation in Africa and contributes directly to the goals of the Digital Economy for Africa (DE4A) Moonshot Initiative.
It is designed around the Maximising Financing for Development (MFD) approach to leverage private investments and optimise the use of public funding.
Author: Babalwa Bungane
This article was originally published on ESI Africa and is republished with permission with minor editorial changes.