West Africa Regional Communication Infrastructure Programme
The PDO of WARCIP-The Gambia is to increase the geographic reach of broadband networks through the global network of broadband optical fibre infrastructure and thus reduce costs of communications services in The Gambia. The key outcome indicators for monitoring and evaluation of the WARCIP at the end of the project are:
Project Description – Scope and Components
WARCIP The Gambia comprises of three components:-
i) Infrastructure component – to improve international connectivity
ii) Technical assistance and capacity building component to create an enabling environment related to leveraging the international connectivity opportunity and transactional issues relating to the ACE cable
iii) Project Implementation support component
Sub-component A - International Connectivity
International connectivity will be improved through part financing the Gambia’s consortium fee to the ACE submarine cable. The bulk of this component will be used to finance the Gambia’s participation in ACE. The ACE project is proceeding quickly with substantial payment requirements of its members.
This sub component focuses on the following:-
(i) Support to provide access to international submarine cable connectivity
(ii) Provide support for the construction of a domestic landing station
(iii) Provide broader bandwidth for more international connectivity
Through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, a SPV“ The Gambia Submarine Cable Co. Ltd” has been established; the initial shareholders include GAMTEL 30%, private operators (AFRICELL, QCELL, COMIUM, Netpage, and Unique Solutions 51%), with the remaining shares (19%) held by the GOTG. The GOTG shares will be made available to new participants under a divestment plan. The GOTG will however use part of its share (9%) to provide bandwidth capacity for government and for social use e.g. schools, universities, hospitals etc.
The Gambia Submarine Cable Co. Ltd will co-finance and manage the access to ACE and the landing station in Banjul.
Sub component B –Regional/National Connectivity
Broadband will be provided to improve priority services. While international fibre links could potentially facilitate better and cheaper access to communication in the Gambia, the full benefit of this access cannot be achieved without further investments in national infrastructure and effective use of ICT for critical services. IDA resources will therefore be used to fund:
i) a national Internet Exchange Point (IXP);
ii) development of connectivity between key selected Government institutions;
iii) developing a feasibility study for connection between The Gambia and neighbouring countries to commercialise excess capacity from ACE to less connected neighbours (e.g. Guinea Bissau)
COMPONENT 2 – Creating an Enabling Environment for Connectivity
· Support to optimise the governance, ownership and financing issues related to the landing station and provision of networks and services emanating from the ACE cable.
· Legal and regulatory safeguards for open access will be created
· Broadband policy and demand stimulation strategy and implementation support
· Implementation Support for Strategic repositioning of GAMTEL
· Regulatory and policy capacity building support will be given
Support to MOICI in key activities related to:
i) Development of policy and institutional framework for top level domain name;
ii) Development of a communication infrastructure strategy looking at financing and management of infrastructure and the backbone infrastructure in general; and
iii) Provide support to the MOICI in the area of cyber security to create enabling environment for increased use of broadband services in The Gambia and for cross border communication.
The project will also include capacity building support to the MOICI through training, study tours and hiring of advisors.
Strengthening the regulatory function - Support to PURA in the following areas;-
i) Development of a strategic and regulatory action plan
ii) Development of regulatory instruments related to spectrum management, cost based regulation, licensing, enforcement and dispute regulation
iii) Design the structural separation of GAMTEL between its wholesale activities as backbone service provider and its retail activities
iv) Formulate an action oriented licence fee and carry out taxation study for the ICT sector.
Specific activities under the capacity building component could include in-house training, study tours and financing of technical advisors.
COMPONENT 3 – Project implementation
Support to establish PIU and build capacity - This activity will provide support needed to strengthen the capacity of the GOTG to implement the connectivity project through the establishment of a PIU and hiring dedicated staff to work on the project. The agency responsible for implementing the WARCIP The Gambia will be a PIU attached to the MOICI. This component will also include initial support to the SPV, The Gambia Submarine Cable Co. Ltd, in the first few months such as logistical support for company set up.