WASHINGTON, December 18, 2019— The World Bank Board of Directors approved today a $180 million International Development Association (IDA)* credit to support Senegal’s efforts to boost competitiveness of the energy and ICT sectors and improve access to services for the most vulnerable. The program will help reduce the cost of electricity, improve the performance of the electricity utility, increase competition in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sector and build a sustainable digital economy.
“Reliable, affordable and accessible electricity and ICT services are central to Senegal’s competitiveness and economic transformation,” said Nathan Belete, World Bank Country Director for Senegal.
The multi-sectoral Development Policy Financing (DPF) operation has supported the Government’s efforts over the past two and a half years to diversify the energy mix, increase the use of lower cost gas and renewable energy and broaden access for the poorest. The program also opens the ICT sector for new entrants, increases private sector investment and continues to develop the foundations of the digital economy. All these measures will reduce costs and therefore increase affordability of basic services supporting economic growth, with a specific focus on increasing access to these services for the poorest.
According to World Bank Task Team Leader, Mustafa Zakir Hussain, “these are deep and consequential reforms that can help transform the energy sector towards one that is affordable for the country and improve the competitive structure of the ICT sector to improve service and reduce prices.” On the digital economy, “Senegal will have only the second standalone Startup Law in Africa, pointing to the seriousness with which the government is addressing this area of the economy,” Hussain added.
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.6 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61 percent going to Africa.