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Ministry of Communications
and Digital Economy

The Western Africa Regional Digital Integration Program (WARDIP)

Mr. Serign Omar Lowe

Project Coordinator

The Government of The Gambia has secured support from the International Development Association (IDA) for the Digital Transformation for Africa/Western Africa Regional Digital Integration Program (DTA/WARDIP) Series of Projects (SOP)-1 in the amount of USD 50 million. The overall aim of the project DTA/WARDIP-SOP1 is to increase access to and usage of broadband and to strengthen the foundations for digital financial services (DFS) and selected digital public services towards a single digital market in Western Africa. This project will ensure that national digital development objectives are met more effectively and rapidly while also taking regional digital transformation objectives into account. National policies, regulations and implementation of strategic programs would need to be improved further while addressing barriers to cross-border connectivity, data flows and digital services for a seamless and competitive national and regional digital ecosystem to emerge. This would result in a self-perpetuating cycle of economic growth, investment, innovation, job creation and improved service delivery at the national and regional levels

The DTfA/WARDIP project development objectives (PDO) are to increase broadband access and usage, strengthen the foundations for digital financial services, and expand the access to selected digital public services in participating countries and to promote the establishment and to advance integration of a single digital market in Western Africa through

Component 1: Enabling environment for the establishment of a continental Single Digital Market

This component will support the development of appropriate policies and regulations to foster coordinated digital transformation in the continent.  Leveraging on continental policies developed by the AUC, a key element will be a comprehensive training program open to policy makers, decision makers and regulators from all countries in Africa across key foundations for digital transformation.

Component 2: Connectivity Market Development and Integration:

This component will support reforms to reduce policy and regulatory barriers as well as investments to address physical barriers to the provision of cross-border telecoms services in accordance with an MFD strategy. It will aim to ensure that all participating countries have network redundancy and cable route diversity, to respond to increasing bandwidth demands. This component will also support institutional and regulatory strengthening of the telecom sector in the participating countries to promote private investments and to harmonize digital market environments in the region. Finally, it will aim to establish a framework to ensure energy-efficient and climate-resilient design for digital infrastructure-related investments in the region that anticipate, mitigate, plan for, and adapt to changing climate conditions.

Component 3: Data Market Development and Integration:

This component will support reforms to enable secure cross-border data exchange, storage, and processing in order to support regional rollout and access to data-driven services, innovation, and infrastructure, as well as provide catalytic financing to support increased data infrastructure investments. Improving the legal and regulatory environment for cybersecurity, data protection, and privacy is critical for the regional data market, the creation of a larger data market would result in significant cost savings through economies of scale, making private sector investments in regional data infrastructure more economically viable. This component will incorporate energy efficiency considerations into the procurement of hardware and software. This component could potentially include support for national objectives in accordance with regional objectives, which would be critical in laying the groundwork for integration. 

Component 4: Online Market Development and Integration:

The component aims to support the development and integration of the online market by removing barriers to cross-border delivery and access to digital goods and services. The integrated online market offers citizens and businesses access to a broader range of digitally enabled services. The component will foster digital entrepreneurship ecosystems that facilitates innovation while establishing the necessary technologies and legal frameworks for digital payments and e-commerce transactions. It will also put an emphasis on initiatives to address and boost service uptake by enhancing digital literacy and skills, as well as expanding the availability, effectiveness, and quality of key public services for regional integration to acquaint customers with the use of online services.

Component 5: Project Management and Implementation Support:

This component will finance project management and implementation of project-associated activities, including procurement, financial management (FM), monitoring and evaluation (M&E), project communication as well as safeguards and citizen engagement. It will cover the operating costs of the Project Implementation Units (PIUs) in each participating country and regional entity. This component will also help strengthen the technical and functional capacity of the PIUs, including the recruitment of expert consultants in key areas and the facilitation of on-the-job learning and competency transfer. It will also support independent audits and quality assurance to ensure compliance with best procurement and financial management practices.

Component 6: Contingency Emergency Response:

Given Gambia’s vulnerability to shocks, a Contingency Emergency Response component (CERC), with a zero-dollar provision, is included to create a financing mechanism within the project for emergency demands arising from natural disasters, disease and of her shocks.

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