The Liberian government aims to make digital technology one of the pillars of the country’s socio-economic development. Last July, the executive revealed that it was preparing the launch of a national digital transformation project, in partnership with the telecoms regulator.
Liberia will soon connect to a second submarine fiber optic cable to boost its broadband capabilities. The initiative is expected to be supported by the World Bank under the West Africa Regional Digital Integration Project – Project Series 2 (WARDIP-SOP2). A delegation from the Bretton Woods Institution recently led a technical assessment mission of the telecommunications sector and the country’s overall digital environment.
The installation of a second submarine fiber optic cable would strengthen Liberia’s digital infrastructure by providing redundancy to the unique ACE (Africa Coast to Europe) to which the country connected in 2011. This Infrastructure is often subject to outages which cause disruptions to Internet services throughout the country. Thus, a cable break, which occurred at the beginning of August, caused cuts and slowdowns of the Internet in around ten African countries, including Liberia, for several weeks.
If the project is successful, the new cable is expected to not only improve the quality of Internet services, but also extend the reach of these services to millions more people and reduce costs. According to data platform DataReportal, Liberia had 1.8 million internet users in January 2023 for a penetration of 33.6%. The number of subscriptions to mobile telephone services was 4.2 million, representing a penetration rate of 78.4%.
The project is also expected to accelerate the government’s digital transformation ambitions. Separately, the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA) has sought support from the World Bank for various digital initiatives, including a review of the governance and operations of the Universal Access Fund; updates to the regulatory framework; a national survey on ICT/telecoms; capacity building and improving Internet governance.