Liberia lags behind other nations on Internet connectivity, and its rate of just 5 percent of citizens who can access the Internet is one of the lowest in the world. A new USD$12 million investment to build out broadband infrastructure, announced in Monrovia this week, will link Liberians to economic opportunity as well as boost health, education and government systems, according to project partner CSquared.
The Google corporate initiative is working with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Liberian government on the tech investment as part of the nation’s post-Ebola Economic Stabilization and Recovery plan. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf made the announcement as part of Liberia’s independence celebrations. The West African country declared independence on July 26, 1847.
“We are excited to be expanding into Monrovia, Liberia, our third country after Uganda and Ghana,” said Estelle Akofio-Sowah, the CSquared regional manager in a statement. “With 60 percent of the population of Liberia under the age of 24, we anticipate unprecedented growth in data consumption.”
USAID said an additional $10 million of its support is earmarked for eGovernment, health information and digital financial inclusion programs. USAID also is backing a loan guarantee program for qualified, local digital businesses and entrepreneurs to help expand the digital economy in Liberia.
The CSquared program has installed more than 800 kilometers of fiber infrastructure in Kampala and Entebbe, and an additional 840 kilometers in the Ghanaian cities of Accra, Tema and Kumasi.
The Nairobi-based company announced a $100 million commitment to Africa earlier this year, with partners Mitsui, the Convergence Partners and World Bank-affiliated International Finance Corporation.
Image: Liberia Ministry of Public Works; CSquared