World Bank to help develop high-speed internet in Africa

GENEVA: The World Bank said Tuesday it would invest 215 million dollars (146 million euros) to help develop high-speed internet infrastructure in central Africa and make the service more accessible to people in the region.

"This programme will support the countries of the Central African region in developing their high-speed telecommunications backbone infrastructure to increase the availability of high-speed internet and reduce end-user prices," it said in a statement.

People living in Central Africa pay up to twice as much in monthly internet fees than elsewhere in Africa, while compared to the rest of the world, they pay up to three times as much.

"Until now, people in Central Africa have the lowest quality and highest cost internet and telephone services in Africa," said the World Bank.

Cameroon, Chad and Central African Republic will join in the first phase of the 10-year-long programme, which will also help these countries to harmonise their laws regulating the internet and communications sector.

A further eight countries -- Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, and Sudan -- have also met the criteria to participate, added the World Bank.