Senegal designs its Silicon Valley

The African country counts on ICT as a key to the economic development. In 2015 works will begin to carry out the “Diamniadio Technology Park”, already renamed “the Senegalese Silicon Valley”. Meanwhile the capital Dakar has provided itself with the first free Wi-Fi area.

The “Diamniadio Technology Park” is born. Also Senegal will have its Silicon Valley. It is Mr. Yaya Abdoul Kane, the Postmaster General of the Africa country, who announced it officially. In the next few months, in fact, works will begin to carry out in Diamniado, about 40 Km from the capital Dakar, the “Diamniadio Technology Park”, a mega digital centre, with ultramodern buildings, data centres and high education centres. It is a 25-hectare area which is completely devoted to the world of technology, with the aim of changing into a strategic pole for research in the fields of innovation and digitization, being able to attract foreign capitals and the attention of all the big TIC multinationals. According to Kane, the Park can “strengthen the competitiveness of Senegalese companies, and create wealth and jobs for young people. The works will be partly funded by Dakar government (20 million dollars) and partly by the African Development Bank (100 million dollars).

Senegal counts on ICT. The digitization of Senegal, however, will not include only Diamniadio: the goal is to create such centres in other areas, such as DIASS, Sebikotane, St. Louis and Ziguinchor. They are single pieces of a global strategy which considers digital technologies and ICT as a powerful driving force, of which could benefit all productive sectors in the country, with cascade positive effects that would affect the entire economy.

Senegal has proved to be one of the African countries most attentive and sensitive to the issue of digital innovation. It is no accident that, in 2014 it came 12th, among the African nations, according to the ITU index(International Telecommunication Union) measuring digital development.

This line also includes another initiative that has recently been announced by the Senegalese government: Dakar Digital City, aiming to change the capital into a leading smart-city. The first element was set a few weeks ago with the pilot project “City of Dakar WiFi”, which led to the opening of the first free Wi-Fi area in Independence Square, one of the main gathering places in the city. Tourists and residents will be able to browse the Internet for free; it is an important occasion mainly for those who cannot afford a personal home connection.

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