$ 30 million Digital RMI project will increase access to digital economy, promote investment
WASHINGTON DC, August 31, 2021 – The World Bank Board of Directors approved a $ 30 million project in the Marshall Islands, where broadband internet access remains extremely limited and expensive, which will ensure faster, more reliable and more affordable internet access in all the countries.
In addition to expanding online access, the Digital RMI project aims to promote private sector investments in climate resilient digital infrastructure and lay the foundation for digital government services and the digital economy. The project will be implemented over seven years and is led by the Government of the Marshall Islands through its Ministry of Finance, Banking and Postal Services and the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology.
âCOVID-19 has only underscored the importance of being digitally connected. We are proud to stand alongside the Marshall Islands in improving internet access for all Marshallese and investing in the development of digital government services and the digital economy â, noted Stephen Ndegwa, World Bank Country Director for Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. âThe links between extreme poverty and lack of access to basic public services are clear and research has shown direct links between increased broadband internet access and economic growth. Better access to the internet and digital government services – including health and education – will be essential for Marshallese today and in the future. “
Limited online access has limited the country’s ability to participate in the digital economy, further isolating the atoll nation and its people and reducing economic and social opportunities.
“I sincerely thank the World Bank for its support for the Digital RMI project”, say it The Chief Secretary of the Government of the Marshall Islands, Kino Kabua. âThis project will ensure a more prosperous future and better opportunities for every citizen of the Marshall Islands through faster, more reliable and more affordable digital connectivity. This represents a crucial opportunity that will benefit generations to come. “
The project addresses connectivity issues in four areas while laying the groundwork for the development of digital government services and the digital economy. One component of the project will result in new investments in energy-efficient, disaster-resilient and climate-change-resilient digital infrastructure in the 24 inhabited atolls and islands, including Majuro and Ebeye.
Another aspect of the initiative focuses on investments in digital government platforms, cybersecurity and digital skills, with work to prioritize key services such as e-health and e-education. Digital job creation, skills development and initiatives to bridge gender gaps in access and use of digital infrastructure and services will also be priorities to support the Marshall Islands’ transition to the digital economy. .
The project will also support the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technologies, in particular in strengthening the political, legal and regulatory environment around the digital economy and digital government services. These reforms, especially in the areas of data protection and privacy, cybersecurity and the fight against cybercrime, will be essential to help build confidence in the provision and use of digital services.
The total cost of the project will be $ 37.5 million, with a $ 30 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA) – the World Bank’s fund for the world’s most needy countries – and 7 , 5 million dollars of private capital, which will be mobilized under the first component of the project.
The World Bank works in partnership with 12 Pacific countries supporting 86 projects totaling $ 2.06 billion in commitments in sectors such as agriculture, health, education and employment, resilience and adaptation to climate change, energy, fisheries, rural development, economic policy, macroeconomic management, aviation and transport, telecommunications and tourism.