The U.S. Trade and Development Agency has awarded a grant to Africell Sierra Leone Limited (Africell) for a feasibility study to expand internet access to more than 95,000 individuals throughout Sierra Leone. The study will facilitate the expansion of Africell’s fiber backbone network nationwide and the complementary expansion of fixed broadband networks in up to 32 cities and towns.
“USTDA is committed to expanding internet access across Africa in partnership with the private and public sectors,” said Enoh T. Ebong, USTDA’s Director. “Our Agency has a long history of partnering with African countries that are navigating the rapidly changing technology landscape and envisioning possibilities for their digital future. This project reflects the concrete action that USTDA is taking as a co-lead of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Digital Transformation with Africa initiative, and it will create opportunities for U.S. companies to engage in Sierra Leone’s digital infrastructure market.”
USTDA’s study will evaluate the economic and technical viability of expanding Africell’s existing telecommunications network in Sierra Leone. The study will include an analysis of consumer demand for fixed broadband service considering topography, demography, and income, as well as a supply analysis of existing infrastructure. It will also include a legal and regulatory analysis as well as a project implementation plan. Overall, the study will enable the deployment of large-scale internet infrastructure investment that is key to expanding access and reducing the cost of internet connectivity.
“This grant will accelerate the roll-out of reliable digital connectivity to thousands of households in Sierra Leone,” says Ziad Dalloul CEO and President of Africell Group, the only U.S.-owned mobile network operator in Africa. “When expanding our network, our goal is always to deliver both social impact and commercial returns. The USTDA-funded feasibility study will help us achieve that by providing vital insights into the technical and economic requirements”.
USTDA’s study advances the U.S. government’s Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, to deliver game-changing projects to close the infrastructure gap in developing countries, as well as the Digital Transformation with Africa initiative, to expand digital access on the continent.
U.S. businesses interested in submitting proposals for the USTDA-funded feasibility study should visit www.ustda.gov/work/bid-on-an-overseas-project.
The U.S. Trade and Development Agency helps companies create U.S. jobs through the export of U.S. goods and services for priority infrastructure projects in emerging economies. USTDA links U.S. businesses to export opportunities by funding project preparation and partnership building activities that develop sustainable infrastructure and foster economic growth in partner countries.