AfDB Board approves €70 million for construction of Senegal’s Digital Technology Park
In its bid to contribute to promoting Senegal as an information and communications technology (ICT) centre of excellence and a destination for the establishment of call centers, e-commerce, software development, wireless Internet facilities and other ICT market segments, the African Development Bank (AfDB) will inject €70.61 million in the sector.
The Board of Directors approved the Senegal Digital Technology Park project on Wednesday, October 21, 2015, at its ordinary session held in Abidjan chaired by First Vice-President and COO, Emmanuel Mbi.
In Senegal, the IT industry has a higher proportion of young workers than other industries and the Park will include an incubator to foster tech-enabled business, often run by recent graduates. The project is expected to produce 35,000 direct jobs and a further 105,000 indirect jobs by 2025; modernize Government, the main user of the Data Centre; diversify the economy into tech-enabled business, content development and Business Process Outsourcing; support academic technology-based research; and simplify provision of services to citizens of Senegal. It will also catalyze inward investment, providing a focal point for development of an ICT cluster in francophone West Africa.
By creating a sound IT foundation, Senegal will attract multinationals and companies to relocate their activities to the new urban centre developing around Diamniadio, Diass, Sebikotane and Lake Rose.
Currently, the Government needs to create IT capacity so that it can modernize its own operations and improve its interaction with citizens. It also needs to meet the demand of more than twenty (20) companies including ATOS, Tigo Senegal and Solution Informatique Durable (SOLID), which have indicated their interest to relocate to the Park provided there is a strong IT foundation that will enable them to deliver their own products and services.
The Bank’s support is expected to complement the Government’s efforts to promote ICTs as a key sector of economic development and as an enabling tool for other sectors like health and education. The National Strategy Paper for ICT Development promotes e-governance and strengthening of the domestic ICT industry. At the technical level, the Bank’s value-added will include providing support in project implementation based on its comparative advantage in the development of Technology Parks in Africa and also supporting other ICT projects such as: Lesotho e-Government Infrastructure, Cabo Verde Technology Park, Senegal Virtual University, and the Rwanda ICT Centre of Excellence.
The Digital Technology Park will be a key project for Senegal’s economic growth and its competitiveness at the global levels as ICT is currently one of the growth drivers of the country. The country needs faster ICT-driven growth to attain its ambitions to become an emerging economy by 2035. Thus the construction of the digital technology park will contribute to its success.