The Washington-based financial institution said the financing from the International Development Association (IDA) aims to increase access to broadband services in the French-speaking Caribbean country and to establish the foundations of digital resilience to respond to health, climate and economic shocks.
“The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the essential role that digital technologies play both during and after crisis,” said Anabela Abreu, World Bank Country Director for Haiti, adding “more widespread and affordable internet access could make Haiti more resilient to future shocks.
“The World Bank is supporting Haiti to increase access and affordability of digital services, while building the necessary skills for digital literacy. Increased broadband connectivity can help drive innovations and new industries that create jobs,” she said.
The World Bank said the lack of affordable and reliable internet connectivity is “a key constraint to inclusive growth in Haiti, as only 35 percent of the population has access to broadband internet.
“The Haiti Digital Acceleration Project will address key bottlenecks to digital development, and help develop the digital economy as a driver of growth, a stronger recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and the ability to more effectively respond to future shocks.
“Given the potential for the project to enable better connectivity and digital services, it is expected to benefit the entire population of Haiti.”
The World Bank said one of the key project activities will include technical assistance to help develop strategies and regulatory tools to promote competition in the digital infrastructure and services market.
The project will also better prepare individuals and businesses for the jobs and economy of the future through the development of their digital skills and this includes opportunities particularly for women, girls, at-risk youth and the rural population to access skills training.
The World Bank said the project will also provide equipment, broadband, and software for the public administration to improve the efficiency of service delivery and the modernization of the Haitian government.