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World Bank Funds Support Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania Telecoms

The World Bank has recently announced the approval of an International Development Association (IDA) credit in the amount of USD 151 million to be used in order to assist the Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania telecoms sectors.

Overall, the RCIP will extend USD 20 million to Malawi, USD 31 million to Mozambique and USD 100 million to Tanzania for the improvement of their respective communication sectors.

The approval of this funding marks the third phase of a regional program, the Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (RCIP), which was designed with the purpose of increasing the availability of dependable communication services in Eastern and Southern Africa.

This recent step in the RCIP program further helps to achieve the goals that were laid out during the Connect Africa Summit, which was held in November 2007 in Rwanda, where it was decided that the World Bank Group and the African Development Bank would join forces in order to help achieve the Summit goals through the mobilization of funds to be used for investment in infrastructure and applications, the offering of advice on the policy and regulation of the ICT sector across the continent, and the provision of assistance with the design and implementation of national e-strategies.

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According to a recent report by cellular-news.com the World Bank Group Director for Global Information and Communication Technologies, Mohsen Khalil, explained the general purpose and goal of the RCIP.

“Ultimately, RCIP will make affordable Internet and voice communications services more widely available, and in turn create new opportunities for employment, regional trade, social participation, and government efficiency,” he said, “The recently launched submarine cable projects, together with such national backbone networks are already driving down substantially the costs of broadband connectivity in Africa.”

In Tanzania specifically, the RCIP will help to strengthen and support the country’s policy and regulatory environment in addition to promoting reform within the sector as a way of capitalizing on the benefits of increased access to international bandwidth.

Additional steps in the program include the improvement of the national vital registration system, the enhancement of accessibility to land records through websites and mobile phone text messages, and the development of an eProcurement pilot for the Medical Stores Department.

According to the World Bank Country Director for Tanzania, Uganda, and Burundi, John Murray McIntire, in the cellular-news report, the RCIP will help to support the country’s national ICT Infrastructure Development Program.

“In Tanzania, RCIP will support the implementation of the Government’s National ICT Infrastructure Development Program, which aspires to provide ICT connectivity to Tanzanians at all levels,” he said, “In particular, RCIP Tanzania will support last mile initiatives for rural access, the Government Communications Network (GovNet), eGovernment, and capacity building.”

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