US$22.5m African Development Fund loan for Bamako Digital Complex
The African Development Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved a USD 22.5m African Development Fund loan to the Republic of Mali to finance a major digital complex in the capital, Bamako. “This project is important for my country and the first of its kind in West Africa. With the Bamako Digital Complex, before December 2011, Mali will be connected through fiber optic to six out of its seven neighbors. It is an innovative project in its design, positioning and vision. It has the ability to lay the necessary foundation today so that tomorrow our citizens have the competencies in an area as strategic as Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It will support and reinforce current national policies on job creation. It’s a project of tomorrow, it’s a project of the future”, said H.E. Mr. Modibo Ibrahim Toure, Minister of Posts and New Technologies of Mali at the signing ceremony held at the AfDB in Tunis.
The main objectives of this project are to (i) increase the use of ICT and upgrade the skills of the population of Mali and other West African countries; and (ii) strengthen Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to support research and innovation in ICT.
The AfDB is the largest financier of this USD 37 million project with contributions from the Government of Mali (USD 3 million) and the French development agency (USD 11.5 million).
“Mali is pioneering a new approach breaking the walls between education systems and businesses. We hope to be doing more of such operations that combine PPPs, linking universities and training facilities to business incubators and using new technologies to improve learning outcomes” said AfDB’s Human Development Director, Agnès Soucat.
The Bamako Digital Complex is composed of three main Information and Communication Technology development poles:
A Techno Center to build human capital, increase competitiveness and create jobs especially for youth. It will seek to train 30 ICT engineers, 120 technicians, 600 civil servants and 150 job seekers per year, and increase women’s participation development.
A Techno Park housing a data center, business incubators and technology firms; and
A Techno Village - a convention center to showcase latest innovations in various developments sectors, hosting events gathering experts, researchers, and academics from Africa and globally.