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World Bank Approves Funds to Improve Broadband Connectivity in Mauritania and Togo

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The World Bank has approved USD30 million each in loans and grants to support Mauritania and Togo's efforts to strengthen telecommunications connectivity through expansion of fiber optic broadband networks and introduction of legal and regulatory reforms to promote robust private sector competition.

The investments are expected to expand access and serve as the backbone for greater private sector investment in ICT services and drive down costs, as has been the experience in other African countries.

The project is part of the second phase of a USD300 million West Africa Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (WARCIP) that seeks to bridge connectivity gaps between 16 West African countries and with the rest of the world. The World Bank said that a regional approach is especially critical for West Africa's landlocked countries which are dependent on coastal neighbors for access to global broadband networks and small states which may not be able to attract sufficient investment in isolation.

"This is an exciting time for ICT-led initiatives in West Africa," said Boutheina Guermazi and Michel Rogy, Project Co-Task Team Leaders for Togo and Mauritania respectively. "We are eager to help move this important project forward, working closely with both Governments for effective implementation to ensure that the benefits of ICT connectivity trickle down to end users in both countries and more generally across the subregion."

Mauritania is mostly a desert country, and its population of 3.5 million is dispersed on an estimated surface area of 1,030,700 square kilometers. Togo is one of the smallest countries in West Africa, and its population of 6.5 million is spread over 56,600 square kilometers.

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Tags: Mauritania  Togo