Kenya is among eastern Africa countries set to benefit from a Sh1.8 billion European Union project for expanding internet reach on the continent.
The European Investment Bank announced on Tuesday it was funding a private investment to build infrastructure for internet penetration to remote villages of Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Set to run for two years by a yet-to-be declared entity, the venture is meant to raise internet access to support rising electronic commercial ventures.
The bank that is the lending arm of the EU announced on Tuesday the project will cost about €15.4 million (Sh1.8 billion) and will be part of an overall €495 million (Sh57 billion) financing for various Africa-wide projects in transport, clean energy and internet access.
“Sustainable transport, clean energy and communications networks are shared challenges for Europe and Africa. Working together, we can improve the lives of millions. The three projects signed today are more evidence of this,” said Dr Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank, in a media release on Tuesday.
The move was announced on the sidelines of the Africa‑Europe High‑Level Forum in Vienna where several African leaders including Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta and Rwanda's Paul Kagame, also chairman of the African Union, were attending.
The forum in the Austrian capital is themed ‘Taking cooperation to the digital age’ and is meant to promote innovation and digitalisation “as important enablers for our future development, so that everyone can benefit from the ongoing digital transformation,” according to a brochure about the conference.