World Bank Provides Additional Support for the Kyrgyz Republic’s Digital Transformation
The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved today $7 million in additional financing to the ongoing Digital Central Asia South Asia (Digital CASA) project for the Kyrgyz Republic. This additional financing complements the original $50 million Digital CASA – Kyrgyz Republic Project approved in March 2018 to support the Kyrgyz Republic’s digital transformation through increasing access to more affordable internet, crowding-in private investment in the ICT sector, and improving the provision of digital government services.
“The Digital CASA – Kyrgyz Republic Project supports the country’s digital transformation agenda and the National Sustainable Development Strategy 2018-2040. The project is expected to foster sustainable and inclusive growth by helping bridge the digital divide, especially in rural areas of the country. It also aims to enhance the provision of digital government services, thereby promoting efficient and transparent public administration,” noted Naveed Hassan Naqvi, World Bank Country Manager for the Kyrgyz Republic.
He also emphasized that the total combined investments of $57 million under the Digital CASA – Kyrgyz Republic Project and its Additional Financing Project will enable access to better and more affordable internet services for more than 800,000 citizens of the Kyrgyz Republic thus bringing the Internet penetration rate in the country to 57%. The project focuses on the following activities: (i) laying 2,500 kilometers of fiber-optic network across the country; (ii) establishing two cross-border fiber-optic links; and (iii) building a government cloud (G-Cloud) infrastructure.
The Digital CASA – Kyrgyz Republic project will ultimately help integrate the Kyrgyz Republic and other landlocked countries of Central Asia and parts of South Asia into the regional and global digital economy, thereby enabling these countries to reap the benefits of digitalization.
“The additional financing is critical for closing the financing gap caused by the need to increase the initially planned capacity for data storage and processing on the G-Cloud. G-Cloud is a government cloud platform that serves as one of the key pillars of digital public infrastructure and will provide storage, processing power, and computing capacity to support e-government services, as well as handle large amounts of data,” said Sandra Sargent, World Bank Senior Digital Development Specialist and Project Task Team Leader.
The Additional Financing for the Digital CASA – Kyrgyz Republic Project is provided through the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s concessional lending arm, in the form of a zero-interest credit, with repayments spread out over 50 years and a 10-year grace period. The project will be implemented through April 2025 by the Ministry of Digital Development. Strict international standards including procurement and financial management regulations and anti-corruption guidelines will be enforced.
The World Bank’s overall mission is to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity on a livable planet. The World Bank’s program in the Kyrgyz Republic currently consists of 23 projects supporting the modernization and development of various sectors, with commitments of $1.1 billion.