On Thursday, May 26, 2016 the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and the Government of the Republic of Cameroon signed an agreement under which the Global Environment Facility (GEF) will provide a grant of US $1,726,484 to support environmental adaptation of the Central Africa fibre-optic backbone project.
The grant builds on a EUR 37.4-million loan provided by AfDB to the Government of Cameroon last July to finance the Central Africa Backbone – Cameroon component project. The project addresses issues of regional fibre-optic connectivity while initiating new ICT services and applications and extending ICT usage and skills in Cameroon. It will reduce the impact of the high cost of telecommunications/ICT on the business climate in the sub-region, create jobs and expand the availability of e-services.
The new money from GEF will specifically be used to finance solar and IT equipment for telecentres, extending the reach of broadband to many who currently have no access to it in a manner that is innovative and environmentally aware. It will also be used to provide technical assistance to encourage increased use of renewable energy in the ICT sector in Cameroon.
Stefan Nalletamby, Acting Vice-President for Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integration, signed on grant agreement on behalf of the Bank. He underlined the importance of the project for connectivity and integration not only within Cameroon but across the region as a whole. He concluded by reiterating the Bank’s continuing desire to support the Republic of Cameroon to meet its economic and social development objectives.
In response, Louis-Paul Motaze, Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, expressed his gratitude to GEF and the Bank for their support while underlining the key role ICT must play in the future development of Cameroon.
On completion, the project is expected to deliver improved access of the population to ICT services; to reduce the cost of access to telecoms and ICT services; to contribute to social, economic and financial inclusion within the country; and to improve availability of training and ICT access in institutions of higher education.
The total cost of the project is estimated to be EUR 46.3 million (about CFAF 30.37 billion). Financing comprises the loan from the AfDB, the grant from GEF and the balance will be provided by the Government of Cameroon.