As part of Liberia’s 170th Independence Celebrations, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announced that Liberia is partnering with an infrastructure company, CSquared, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to bring best-in-class, reliable, affordable broadband infrastructure to Monrovia. A press release yesterday said Liberia is one of the least connected countries in the world, with only 5% of citizens able to access the Internet.
“This partnership is a $12M investment that will serve to strengthen essential health, education and government systems, as well as help unlock the potential of the digital economy for Liberian citizens and private enterprise,” the release said.
The release quoted President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as saying: “ICT is an integral part of economic development that is often overlooked and undervalued. By expanding our connectivity through this initiative, we will strengthen the support for more ICT based projects and programs in Education, Health, and Infrastructure.”
The Government of Liberia has identified increasing fiber infrastructure as a vital part of its economic stabilization and recovery plan. The release said USAID is proud to support Liberia in advancing access to digital infrastructure and has committed an additional $10M to support connected programs in the areas of eGovernment, health information systems, and digital financial inclusion. USAID is also supporting the expansion of Liberia’s digital economy by providing access to a loan guarantee program for qualified, local, digital businesses and entrepreneurs.
The United States Ambassador to Liberia, Christine Elder, is also quoted as saying “the United States is committed to helping Liberia provide its people increased access to the Internet.” Ambassador Elder added that “expanding connectivity in Liberia is crucial to helping USAID fulfill its mission to help Liberia end extreme poverty and build resilient democratic institutions.”
This partnership builds on CSquared’s proven experience in designing and building shared metropolitan fiber infrastructure in the African cities of Kampala and Entebbe in Uganda, and the cities of Accra, Tema, and Kumasi in Ghana. To date, CSquared has built more than 800 km of fiber in Uganda and more than 840 km in Ghana. Collectively over 25 ISPs and MNOs now use these metro fiber networks to offer broadband services and 4G data to end users, with over 1,200 tower and commercial building sites connected directly to CSquared’s fiber infrastructure.
Said Estelle Akofio-Sowah, CSquared West Africa regional manager: “We are excited to be expanding into Monrovia, our third country after Uganda and Ghana. CSquared is committed to working with partners like the Government of Liberia and USAID to expand the ways people around Africa can reliably and affordably connect to the Internet. With 60% of the population of Liberia under the age of 24, we anticipate unprecedented growth in data consumption.”
It may be recalled that CSquared on May 16, 2017, along with Google, Convergence Partners, International Finance Corporation, and Mitsui & Co., Ltd., signed an agreement to invest in CSquared, a technology company making commercially-driven investments into broadband-enabling infrastructure throughout Africa. CSquared will operate as an independent company based in Nairobi. By investing in a shared Internet infrastructure and making it available to local ISPs and mobile operators, CSquared helps bring high-quality broadband access to Africa’s major cities.