The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a $100 million loan for a program to promote Internet access and digitization in Argentina. The operation seeks to improve digital connectivity infrastructure in remote areas, increase the capacity of the National Data Center, and improve the digital capabilities of citizens in connected areas.
The Program for the Development of the Federal Fiber Optic Network (REFEFO) will finance the expansion and equipping of infrastructure to connect 258 localities in remote areas with fiber optics. It will also enhance international connectivity infrastructure to boost digitization quality, lower prices, and provide regional digital integration.
The program will improve service by funding the purchase and updating of storage and information processing equipment at the National Data Center of the Argentine Satellite Solutions Company (ARSAT).
In addition, the loan will finance online training programs for officials and public employees responsible for digital inclusion, and training programs with official certifications for citizens in connected areas. Both initiatives will have a gender focus. Training sessions will be conducted through a call promoting the participation of women. Likewise, the loan will finance integrated citizen services with best practices for the use of the government’s public cloud, and solutions designed and implemented under the program’s guidance.
Participation in training activities will be mainly based on whether people live in impoverished households, their initial level of digital skills, and whether they reside in localities with a single or no broadband service provider.
The program will directly benefit the 923,000 residents of the 258 localities to be connected, state agencies connected to the National Data Center, and the population trained in digital skills.
This operation is aligned with Vision 2025 - Reinvesting in the Americas: A Decade of Opportunities, created by the IDB to achieve recovery and inclusive growth in Latin America and the Caribbean in the areas of gender and inclusion and climate change, two of the Bank’s main priorities.
The IDB loan of $50 million has a 25-year repayment term, a five and a half year grace period, and an interest rate based on LIBOR.
The Inter-American Development Bank is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.
Antonio García Zaballos
IDB Project Team Leader
Program for the Development of the Federal Optic Network (REFEFO)