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WB to Provide US$50 Mln for Afghan Telecom Sector

Xinhua News Agency, April 27, 2011 Adjust font size:

The World Bank (WB) approved a US$50 million grant to help Afghanistan expand telecommunication and information technology sector, a statement of WB released here on Wednesday said.

"The World Bank today approved US$50 million as grant to help the government of Afghanistan expand connectivity, mainstream the use of mobile applications and support the development of the local information technology industry," the statement said.

According to the statement the project will support policy and regulatory reforms and strategic infrastructure investment to expand connectivity and enable more users to access high quality mobile and Internet services.

"Afghanistan's achievements in the sector over the past years are exciting," said Nicholas Krafft, World Bank country director for Afghanistan in the statement.

The government's policy and regulatory framework has attracted private investment in excess of US$1.6 billion into Afghan telecommunication services. This project will allow Afghanistan to create the infrastructure to better utilize ICT ( Information and Communication Technologies) for service delivery, allow for greater investments in the sector and help create jobs and enhance economic growth, the statement further said.

Afghanistan has made good progress in the field of communication since the collapse of Taliban regime in late 2001. In 2002, according to the WB statement, there were fewer than 60, 000 telephones operated in the country. By early 2011, the number of mobile telephone subscriptions had risen to an estimated 14 million and about 80 percent of the population is now covered by the network, the world's leading lending agency added in the statement.

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