Uganda secures US$200m from World Bank to accelerate digital transformation and inclusiveness

UGANDA – The World Bank has approved US$200 million financing to expand access to high-speed and affordable internet, improve efficiency of digitally enabled public service delivery, and strengthen digital inclusion in Uganda.

The new Uganda Digital Acceleration Project-GovNet (UDAP-GovNet) will support the extension of 1,000 kilometres of the national backbone fibre infrastructure, an additional 500 kilometres of fibre optic network links between towns, mobile broadband connections for 900 government administrative units and service centres in underserved areas, and 828 Wi-Fi hotspots in select locations to support access to online services among rural and peri-urban, underserved, and unserved communities.

“Transforming Uganda’s digital infrastructure is an urgent necessity for post-COVID-19 recovery,” said Tony Thompson, World Bank Country Manager for Uganda. 

“We look forward to the time when all citizens can access high-quality and low-cost internet, public services online, a digital economy driving growth, innovation and job creation,” he added.

With US$140 million in financing from the International Development Association (IDA) and a US$60 million grant, the project will support the implementation of the governments’ flagship initiative, GovNet, which contributes to the objectives of Digital Uganda Vision and the Digital Transformation Program under the National Development Plan III.

The project will help develop shared platforms for ministries, departments, and agencies to efficiently deliver digitally enabled public services to citizens and businesses throughout the country and these digital platforms will create the foundations for better resilience and economic recovery by boosting the effectiveness of government e-services that can be delivered remotely, in a paperless and cashless manner, reducing the need to travel for government services.

“Transforming Uganda’s digital infrastructure is an urgent necessity for post-COVID-19 recovery” 

Tony Thompson – World Bank Country Director, Uganda

The expanded connectivity will also strengthen the digital inclusion of host communities and refugees by improving the availability of digital infrastructure and tackling demand-side factors like digital skills, affordability of internet connectivity, and accessibility of digital services.  

“The project will be intentional about gathering beneficiary feedback about priority e-services,” said Raman Krishnan, Task Team Leader, World Bank. “

“It will also identify and develop digital solutions that are inclusive for people with low digital skills and literacy levels, to encourage their full participation in the digital economy,” added Krishnan.

Given the project’s scope, it is anticipated that it will benefit a wide spectrum of beneficiaries, including businesses; rural, unserved, and underserved populations (both men and women); the elderly; and persons with disability.

The project is also designed to promote private sector participation using an approach compatible with the Maximizing Finance for Development principles.

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