Following announcements yesterday regarding funding in Kenya and Senegal, the World Bank has approved a US$400 million credit facility for DECIM (Digital and Energy Connectivity for Inclusion in Madagascar Project).
The project has wide-reaching goals, including deploying infrastructure across Madagascar to provide internet access to a further 3.4 million people and boosting access to energy and digital services in remote regions. The World Bank claims that the project will deliver electricity to over 150 villages, encompassing 10 million people, while over 2000 schools and health facilities will gain access to renewable energy and digital services.
“Access to energy and telecommunications are top priorities for our government. This project is fully aligned with our vision for the development of Madagascar,” said Andry Rajoelina, President of Madagascar.
Just 33.7% of Madagascar’s population has reliable access to electricity, with the average for sub-Saharan Africa around 48.4% in 2020. Around 18 million Madagascans still have no electricity access, and the country accordingly ranks fairly poorly for access to broadband connectivity despite some advancements; at end-2021, ARTEC (Autorite de Regulation des Technologies de Communications) placed the fixed broadband penetration rate at just 0.4%, while mobile broadband was still relatively low at 54.7%.
DECIM aims to mobilise private capital to help reduce Madagascar’s connectivity gap. Operators are already laying the groundwork, with infrastructure spends increasing across the board. We reported earlier this year that Orange signed Network-as-a-Service (NAAS) deals with NuRAN Wireless and Africa Mobile Networks (AMN), while Telma has also signed upgrade agreements with Ericsson.