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PRESS RELEASE

Increasing Access to Telecommunications Services for 200,000 Nicaraguans in Rural Areas

July 11, 2012




WASHINGTON, DC, July 11, 2012 - The World Bank and the Government of Nicaragua signed an agreement today to provide US$5 million additional financing for the Rural Telecommunications Project, in order to increase access to telecommunications services among more than 200,000 rural inhabitants in Nicaragua.

The signing ceremony was chaired by Ambassador Francisco Obadiah Campbell Hooker, representing the Government of Nicaragua, and Pedro Alba, World Bank Director of Strategy and Operations in the Latin America and Caribbean region. The ceremony was held at World Bank headquarters in Washington.

The Nicaragua Rural Telecommunications Project, implemented since 2007 through an initial financing of US$7 million, has already installed new broadband Internet access points in 101 municipalities, expanded mobile phone coverage to 37 rural communities, and installed almost 600 public phones in rural areas.

“This project has already helped to expand telecommunication services and infrastructure in rural areas of Nicaragua. The extension of the project will assist the Government in meeting the objectives of the Caribbean Coast Development Strategy, which aims to increase access to telecommunication services in the coastal region by at least 40 percent,” said Ambassador Campbell.

These US$5 million in additional financing will support Government efforts to reduce the cost of telecommunications services and expand opportunities for the inhabitants of the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN) and South Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAS), Alto Wanki Territory in the north of Nicaragua and Rio San Juan Department in the southeast. In these areas  almost 55 percent of the population lives in poverty, particularly in small indigenous and Afro-descendent communities, away from national communication networks.

“The extension of this project will expand access to telecommunications services and to new technologies for 200,000 people in remote rural areas. This increased access will open new development opportunities for beneficiaries,” said Alba.

The Project will continue to facilitate access to low cost mobile phones and Internet services in rural communities. Municipal governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector will also benefit.

The new financing will support institutional strengthening in TELCOR, the regulatory body for the sector, and provide technical assistance to beneficiary communities through the creation of an e-Government data center in the Caribbean Coast. This data center will enable the design and implementation of several programs, such as distance learning initiatives and programs to improve productive capacity, the quality of healthcare and disaster prevention.

The funding will also cover technical assistance, equipment and training required to establish the Project Coordination Unit (PCU / TELCOR). Additionally, it will support a more effective coordination of project monitoring and assessment (including periodic audits).

The extension of the Rural Telecommunications Project in Nicaragua and the additional financing was approved by the World Bank Board of Directors on June 14, 2012. This project is implemented by TELCOR for a period ending March 31st, 2015. The US$5 million credit is provided by the International Development Association (IDA) with a 40-year maturity period, including a ten-year grace period.

To find out more about the Rural Telecommunications Project in Nicaragua, please visit:

https://projects.worldbank.org/en/projects-operations/project-detail/P089989?lang=en

 

Media Contacts
In Managua, Nicaragua
Maria Teresa Norori
Tel : +505 2270 0000
mnorori@worldbank.org
In Central America
Cesar Leon
Tel : +502 2329 8000
cleonjuarez@worldbank.org


PRESS RELEASE NO:
2013/001/NI

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