Tue | Jan 19, 2021

Haiti embarks on massive programme to widen Internet coverage

Published:Thursday | January 7, 2021 | 4:37 PM
The project is being funded by the World Bank through a grant of US$60 million - Contributed photo.

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, CMC –  The government of Haiti has embarked on a digital programme that has been designed to give broadband access to 2.7 million people across the country over the next five years.

The programme is one that will enable Haitians to access cheaper and faster Internet connections through the World Bank grant of US$60 million that has led to the rollout of fibre optic cables.

Under the programme, nearly 1300 public sector institutions will gain access to high-speed Internet service.

“This aims to improve the way the government operates and interacts with citizens, opening the door to increased accountability, transparency, and more efficient service delivery,” the World Bank said.

Late last year, the project was approved to start in 2021 and to close in 2026.

According to the World Bank, the project will support natural disaster enterprises by providing critical communications systems, databases, and public services.

It will also help residents acquire digital skills with an easier digital platform through which to navigate.

“This is a huge step forward for the country,” said Morgan Mendis, a co-founder of Ayiti Analytics, a data lab based in Haiti.

“It will open up a whole new sector in the economy for Haitians. People will engage and interact with technology in a new way.”

In addition to the $60 million Digital Acceleration Project, The World Bank has funded six additional projects in Haiti totalling $217.8 million in funding since January 2020.

The projects range from COVID-19 relief to a Caribbean regional air transport connectivity to a Cap Haitien urban development project.

The bank’s projects for Haiti date back to 2018 total $534 million.

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