Senegal govt, AfDB to build US$120 million digital park

By Issa Sikiti da Silva, Senegal

The Senegalese government and the African Development Bank (AfDB) will join forces to put aside about US$20 million and US$100 million, respectively, to build a mega-digital park in the city of Diamniadio.

Diamniadio, a city located about 30 km from the capital Dakar, has seen major developments in the past decade, including the building of a highway linking the town to Dakar.

Senegal minister of posts and telecommunications, Yaya Abdoul Kane, made the announcement on Tuesday in Dakar during a session to report on the project’s feasibility study. The site will be called Diamniadio Technology Park.

Construction work of the park, which will be spread on a 25-hectare site and equipped with a broadband zone, a data and ICT training centre and ultra-modern buildings, among others, will begin in 2016 and last for five years.

A number of African countries have been developing ICT projects of such magnitude in the hope of attracting foreign investors and drawing the attention of major ICT multinationals.

Gabon, an oil-rich Central African nation, is one such example as it is planning the construction of a Cyber-City in the island of Mandji.

Kane on Tuesday emphasised the essence of such a expensive project, saying that his government’s vision was, through Diamniadio’s mega-digital facilities, to make Senegal West Africa’s technology hub for innovation and research.

Senegal, one of Africa’s largest ICT spenders, was ranked 12th in Africa by the 2014 UIT ICT Index, taking the lead in the UEMOA Zone.

''The importance of digital for the development of our country is now established. That’s why the sector needs a strong signal to transform the potential carried by the national expertise for the real growth driver of our economy,” an optimistic Kane said.

''It is a space that will be developed to not only attract private investors but also strengthen the competitiveness of our businesses, and create wealth and jobs for young people,” he added.

The park will facilitate the rolling out of various digital centres throughout the conservative Muslim nation.

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