Nigeria Receives US$100-million Loan To Extend Broadband Coverage

Nigeria has been granted a loan of US$100-million by the Export-Import Bank of India. The loan will be used to install solar-powered telecommunication sites and also widen national broadband coverage.

According to the country's communications ministry, over the next 12 months, a minimum of 1000 sites will be deployed across rural areas in Nigeria, starting with Oyo state.

Adebayo Shittu, Nigeria's Minister of Communications, confirmed that the loan was granted in less than six months after the initial application.
Shittu added that the funds would enable the country to achieve a broadband penetration figure of 70% by 2021.

According to the latest industry reports released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) so far for 2019, teledensity in Nigeria is standing at 91% with over 122.6 million active internet subscribers.

Broadband penetration dropped from 33.70% in April 2019 to 33.13% in May 2019 because Nigeria lost approximately 1.1 million broadband subscribers within that one-month period.

Industry stakeholders expressed great concern over Nigeria's rapidly growing debt profile, with the EXIM Bank loan following almost immediately after the country had received a separate loan of US$150 million for electricity projects.

At the end of Q1 2019, Nigeria's total external debts sky-rocketed to nearly US$26-billion.

Critics have argued that Nigeria's telecoms operators should rather be incentivised to invest instead of the government taking up loans to install masts.

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