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West Africa Rising: World Bank offers Internet 'revolution' to Sierra Leone, Liberia

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West Africa Rising is a weekly look at business, investment, and development trends.

Internet connections in the poorest corners of West Africa are sluggish at best, and they often cost 100 times more than the same service would sell for in the United States.

But that could be changing soon.

The World Bank’s board of directors approved a project on Jan. 20 that promises to bring “a major infrastructural revolution” to Liberia and Sierra Leone. The initiative will connect the two countries to an underwater fiber-optic cable that runs off their western shores, boosting the speed of connection while slashing the cost.

The World Bank money will come in the form of loans, $31 million for Sierra Leone and $25.6 million for Liberia, that will pay for the cables and other physical infrastructure needed to set up the connection. The funds will also be used to update relevant laws and regulations to make sure the process runs smoothly.


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