World Bank boosts Djibouti's digital revolution


DJIBOUTI - Global lender World Bank has approved $10 million through the International Development Association [IDA] meant for the world's poorest countries, which would help transform Djibouti's digital economy.

For years, Djibouti has strived to transform into a digital hub in the Horn of Africa through internet connectivity in data markets. The country has been getting support from both the United States and the European Union.

The new Digital Foundations Project aims to ensure that more citizens and businesses have access to quality and affordable internet by developing an enabling environment for the gradual introduction of competition and private-sector investment in information and communication technology [ICT], and by fostering the uptake of digital skills and services.

According to observers, the project is aligned with the new Country Partnership Framework and Djibouti's Vision 2035, which recognize the role of ICT in economic growth.

"Accelerating digital transformation in Djibouti is an urgent necessity for post-COVID-19 recovery," said Ilyas Moussa Dawaleh, Djibouti's Minister of Economy and Finance in charge of Industry. "Stimulating economic growth, innovation, and job creation through technology is an opportunity that will benefit present and future generations."

The new financing will strengthen the capacity of the public sector, specifically the Ministry of Communication, with responsibility for Posts and Telecommunications, the Delegate Ministry in charge of Digital Economy and Innovation, and the Multi-sectoral Regulatory Authority of Djibouti, to promote the digital economy and market competition.

"COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of digital technologies," said Boubacar-Sid Barry, World Bank Resident Representative in Djibouti. "With this new project, the Bank supports Djibouti in its efforts to address vulnerabilities and create a favorable environment for the development of an inclusive and safe digital economy."

The project will also support the development of digital skills programs for entrepreneurs and the integration of basic digital skills into school and university curricula. It is anticipated that the project will benefit all segments of Djibouti's economy and society, including the public and private sectors, women, youth, and underserved rural populations. Citizen engagement will be an essential component of the program.

According to Eric Dunand and Tim Kelly, co-ask Team Leaders, "The project will help Djibouti to harness its digital potential. A high-performing digital economy in Djibouti, based on a well-developed ICT sector, will have many benefits. Wider use of digital technologies will help the government improve service delivery, offer youth more job opportunities, and entrepreneurs, more business prospects in diversified economic sectors."

Djibouti is the home to the US Africa Command, which is responsible for the enhancement of security and social-economic development. Also, China is setting a military base within the country to help in competing with the US for African resources.


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