The World Bank has approved NPR.17 billion funds for Nepal to enhance the digital economy. The funds will help promote businesses and connectivity, especially in rural areas, and the digital transformation of the country.
The bank says one million people will receive broadband connections with this financial package.
The Board of Executives of the World Bank approved the $140 million for Nepal on Thursday, June 16th. It roughly translates to over 17.51 billion in Nepali currency.
The World Bank is disbursing the amount for the Digital Nepal Acceleration (DNA) project. It will help expand broadband access and engage more people in the digital economy.
“Countries that embrace a digital transformation can accelerate their transition to green, resilient, and inclusive development,” said Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. “The World Bank is proud to support Nepal’s goal to promote an inclusive and secure digital economy that will connect people and businesses to information, services, and markets.”
This is a continuation of the bank’s various projects in Nepal. Previously, it has contributed to Nepal’s telecommunications project on occasions, with the first one arriving in 1969.
“The first World Bank-financed project in Nepal was a telecommunications project in 1969. The DNA Project represents an evolution in Nepal’s economic growth story by investing in high-speed broadband connectivity and in digital skills and services that will position the country, its people, and its businesses to be more competitive and integrated into the global digital economy,” said Siddhartha Raja, World Bank task team leader for the project.
More significantly, the project will support the implementation of the Digital Nepal Framework, the bank’s press note says. It will aid Nepal’s digital economy strategy that the Nepali Government announced back in 2019. Nepal announced the Digital Nepal Framework in 2019. It carries the guidelines, purposes, and plans for the digital transformation of the country.
The project will improve access to high-quality and affordable broadband services, especially for people and businesses in rural areas.
Besides, the funds will also support and secure the delivery of digital government services through improvements in Nepal’s data infrastructure and cybersecurity. Meanwhile, the package will inspire specific activities that will seek to bolster “internet use, digital skills and entrepreneurship, and access to digital services by women, ethnic and social minorities, and persons with disabilities.”
In addition, the project will also create better job opportunities. The bank says it will provide around 1,500 people jobs by providing digital skills development training.
The DNA project is financed by the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA).
Digital Nepal Framework is the driving principle of the growing ICT industry in Nepal. The fintech, digital transformation, and expansion of telecom services have accelerated lately. This is evident more particularly after the Covid-19 lockdown. Recently, the government of Nepal also promised to inject 22 billion NPR into the Digital Nepal projects.
What do you think of the World Bank extending its hand to the Digital Nepal initiative? Do leave your opinion in the comments section below.