Webinar report: Opportunities for Indian companies in Digital Economy in Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Cabo Verde, July 24, 2020

Table of Contents

Global Digital Economy on the Rise. 1

India. 2

Senegal 3

ADIE. 6

The Gambia. 7

Cabo Verde. 10

Guinea-Bissau. 14

Summary of Highlights. 15

Webinar July 24, 2020. 16

Way forward. 16

 

 

Global Digital Economy on the Rise

 

The rise of digital technologies and digital economy (DE) offers unique opportunities for accelerated economic growth, innovation, job creation and access to quality services. The accelerating pace of technology diffusion, technological convergence, and the emergence of global platforms are disrupting traditional development and business models, expanding access to global markets, facilitating services provision, delivering productivity gains, and generating employment. Although more rigorous empirical work to demonstrate causal impact of digital technology adoption on productivity and inclusion outcomes is necessary, burgeoning research has been offering positive correlational evidence. Between 2001 and 2011 the employment growth in the technology sector in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, for instance, was 27 times higher than in other sectors.

 

The MIT Sloan Research demonstrates how digital technologies can significantly boost business productivity by estimating that companies adopting them are 26 percent more profitable than their sectoral counterparts. On the national level, a study by Deloitte stipulates that bridging the Internet penetration rate gap with developed economies could enhance productivity in developing countries by up to 25 percent, generating US$2.2 trillion in additional gross domestic product (GDP), creating more than 140 million new jobs, and lifting more than 160 million people out of extreme poverty. Overall, the global DE, worth is estimated at US$18 trillion or about 24 percent of global GDP, showing a growth of an incredible 60% in less than a decade, far outpacing the growth of the ‘traditional’ economy’. The full rollout of 5G technology alone is estimated to unlock US $12.3 trillion in revenues in various industries by 2035, equivalent to 4.6 percent of global production, supporting 22 million new jobs.

 

If managed well and accompanied with appropriate risk mitigation strategies and equity-enhancing policies, these technologies can, in principle, be harnessed for the benefit of the poor by lowering information barriers and asymetries, decreasing informality, limiting uninsured risks, and reducing prices of goods and services as well as the cost of public service delivery. In Kenya, for example, the impact of mobile money on increasing remittances to rural areas and lowering transaction costs has had a direct impact on reducing poverty rates, while in Peru mobile phone expansion between 2004 and 2009 increased household real consumption by 11 percent, reduced poverty incidence by 8 percentage points (p.p.) and decreased extreme poverty by 5.4 p. p.

 

The Digital evolution in Africa has been important with impressive progress in many areas, however it is yet to become a real revolution. DE in Africa is currently at an inflection point, whereby the falling cost of technology is allowing scalable innovations. For instance, cellular subscriptions are sky-rocketing – with 420 million unique mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), reaching 44 percent of the continent’s population at the end of 2017, up from 25 percent in 2010. Mobile Internet penetration reached 240 million people (or 26 percent penetration) in 2016, with mobile technologies and services generating 7.1 percent of GDP or US$110 billion in 2017.

 

Moreover, mobile money is driving financial inclusion, particularly in SSA, with the number of accounts doubling to 21 percent between 2014-17. African e-commerce is also growing rapidly, at an estimated annual rate of 40 percent. These dynamics have come on the back of a tenfold increase over the past five years in the supply of new intermediaries and support structures, such as incubators, accelerators and tech hubs, among others, numbering more than 200 across the Africa region today. Overall, the African DE is expected to grow to over US$300 billion by 2025, yet much more can be achieved and African countries enjoyed only a tiny fraction of these benefits. This can be holistically explained by the fact that in general, the gains of the digital expansion, as evidenced by the 2016 World Development Report (WDR 2016), have thus far been “skewed towards the wealthy, skilled, and influential, better positioned to take advantage of new technologies”.

 

The status of Digital Economy in each of the four countries, viz Senegal, The Gambia, Cabo Verde and Guinea-Bissau are examined below.

India

 

Digital India is a flagship programme of the Government of India with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

 

Digital Profile of India:

- India is the second largest mobile market;

- There are more than 500 mn smartphone users

- 1.17 bn mobile connections

- There are more than 688 mn Internet users

 

Digital Governance: India has made rapid strides in implementation of digitaol Governance.

-UN E-Governance Index shows a significant rise in the rank of India – 96th rank in 2018, as compared to 124 in 2012;

- There has been a huge increase in growth of e-Governance Transactions per day – from 10 mn in 2014 to 169.5 mn in May 2020;

-Aadhaar Card – world’s largest biometric based digital identity – is being used for Direct Benefit Transfer for the poor and the needy and 1.26 bn Aadhaar cards have been issued upto May 2020. An amount of Rs. 11.14 lakh crore has been transferred directly to the benficiaries till May 31, 2020.

 

Digital Platforms:

- UPI crossed 1 billion successful transactions in October 2019

- One Nation, One Tax Platform - Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) with 1.22 crore registered taxpayers is a success story

- Government e-Marketplace (GeM) provides digitally transformed and streamlined Public Procurement

- UMANG - United Mobile App for new age governance

 

One of the most exciting success stories has been the digitization of small businesses.

-Just four years ago, only one-third of all small businesses in India had an online presence.

-Today, 26 million SMBs are now discoverable on Search and Maps, driving connections with more than 150 million users every month.

-Small merchants across the country are now equipped to accept digital payments.

- more small businesses part of the formal economy, and it improves their access to credit.

 

The global pandemic has supercharged the adoption of digital tools. Digital payments, for example, have enabled families across India to access goods and services during lockdowns. Digital Healthcare - Ayushman Bharat - offers insurance to the needy with online registration system, Digital Agriculture offers services to the agricultural sector with special schemes for small and marginal farmers. Digital Education, Digital Library etc are other programmes under Digital India.

 

Google for India Digitization Fund:

Google and its parent Alphabet, announced the company will invest USD 10 billion through its Google for India Digitization Fund over the next five to seven years.Focus is on four areas: -enabling affordable access and information for every Indian in vernacular;

-building new products and services that are deeply relevant to India’s unique needs;

-empowering businesses as they continue or embark on their digital transformation, and

-leveraging technology and AI for social good in areas like health, education, and agriculture.

Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google and Alphabet said that:

“This investment is a reflection of Google’s confidence in the future of India and its digital economy”.

“Times of challenge can lead to incredible moments of innovation. Our goal is to ensure India not only benefits from the next wave of innovation, but leads it. Working together we can ensure that our best days are still ahead”.

“When we build for India, we build for the World”.

Senegal

 

A recent World Bank Report (on Senegal) gives the following as the five foundational elements of DE:

 

• Digital Infrastructure: the availability of affordable and quality Internet, which is instrumental to bringing more people online.

• Digital Platforms: the presence and use of digital platforms that can support greater digital exchange, transactions and access to public and private services online.

• Digital Financial Services: the ability to pay, save, borrow, and invest through digital means, which is key to accessing digital services and increasing the rate of online transactions.

• Digital Skills: the development of a tech-savvy workforce with both basic and advanced digital skills to support increased technology adoption and innovation.

• Digital Entrepreneurship: the presence of an ecosystem that enables firms to generate new products and services, leveraging new technologies and business models.

 

The analysis of the digital economy foundational elements in Senegal starts with a look at cross-cutting issues. The development of digital economy in Senegal has long been slowed down by inadequate regulatory framework, lack of competition and the complexity of the governance context with overlapping stakeholders’ responsibilities. Therefore, after the adoption of the Digital Senegal Strategy (SN2025) in late 2016, the recently adopted (December 2018) Code on Electronic Communications ends a long period of regulatory uncertainty, marking a turning point for the sector and demonstrating the interest and willingness of the Government of Senegal (GoS) to reshape sectoral legal and regulatory framework to cope with the fast pace of change in technologies and business models.

 

Digital Infrastructure: To date, three existing telecommunications operators (Sonatel, Tigo and Expresso) held licenses that authorized them to provide services in Senegal. However, the Senegalese telecommunications value chain remains tied up in bottlenecks. Cost of mobile broadband services represents 12 percent of average monthly gross income per capita income in Senegal, compared to 6 percent in Kenya. Moreover, the coverage still needs improvement and digital divide is high with limited access in rural areas.  To address challenges, the Senegalese State Informatics Agency (ADIE) has recently initiated an effort to develop a national cloud for the government, including universities, schools, health pyramid structures, and local governments.

 

Digital Government Platforms: Senegal is making progress in developing its digital government. The country has also secured a government-wide digital network, a wireless WiMAX network as well as multiple data centers. Senegal, and Ghana, pioneered digital identification systems in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with the deployment of National Biometric Identity Card (ENBIC). This e-ID system is mandatory for all citizens and is used for identification to access several services. The unique number generated by the Files Automation Department (DAF) can serve as a basic identifying reference. However, 25 percent of Senegal’s population remain not yet registered and do not have any identification. As for the digital taxation, a full deployment can accelerate the ongoing reform initiatives and transformation of public administration. Senegal aims at making the regular interactions between taxpayers and the tax authority paperless by switching to a more transparent and more efficient online filing and payment approach. The emphasis of current targeted initiatives is on strengthening governance of revenue administration to properly monitor taxpayers’ observance of the law.

 

Digital Financial Services: In Senegal, effective usage of Digital Financial Services (DFS) is still limited despite the growth in mobile money account ownership. With only 42% percent of adults reporting to having an account at a financial institution (Findex 2018), DFS offer great potential to meet the financial needs of poor and unbanked consumers. In terms of usage, airtime purchase currently represents 40% of the annual volume of transactions, the remainder is allocated mainly to person-to-person (P2P) transfers (12%) and cash withdrawals (12%). To date, mobile payments at the merchant level are still scarce at 6% with only a limited 1,300 service points. 

 

Digital Skills: The rise of a vibrant Digital Economy in Senegal is hindered by a lack of qualified and competent human resources. This is mainly due to the status of Senegal’s public education (i.e., primary and secondary) which is confronted with lack of resources and infrastructure. Today, only 7.4 percent of the Senegalese population is also enrolled in tertiary education. On the other hand, the Ministry of Higher Education and Research (MESR) is leading an ambitious reform program to promote the digital agenda and STEM education. A decentralization plan for higher education has been adopted with the opening of 14 specialized universities and graduate schools and the launch of the Virtual University of Senegal (UVS), a digital educational infrastructure open to more than 20,000 students. To cope with the qualitative and quantitative shortage of digital training in the Senegalese ecosystem, private digital training providers are aiming to complement the digital training offered by Senegalese higher education institutions. These new private actors sometimes partner with major technological firms such as Atos, Facebook, and Orange, which already are active or are searching for means to participate in upgrading digital skills in Senegal. The private digital training actors have yielded good results to date, but their impact remains limited and provide an opportunity.

 

Digital Entrepreneurship: Senegal has one of the most dynamic digital entrepreneurship ecosystems in francophone West Africa. Three drivers help this nascent startup nation to rise including a relatively widespread use of technologies in West Africa with 36% smartphone adoption rate; a high entrepreneurial activity rate with 39% of the population aged 18 to 64 is either setting up or heading a new company; and availability of diverse co-working spaces including 15 incubators and accelerators, serving the needs of a community of over 2,500 startups and entrepreneurs. A major challenge for entrepreneurs in Senegal remains lack of access to finance during their pre-seed and seed phases. 

 

There are three high-impact projects to accelerate the growth of Senegal’s Digital Economy, although two of which are already given above, still merit another mention:

 

• Digital identity (e-ID) to (a) complete the coverage of the e-ID beyond the current 70 percent of the population and (b) strengthen the sustainability and security of the e-ID system using public key infrastructure (PKI).

 

• Digital taxation (e-Tax) to (a) generalize the adoption of e-taxation to improve the quality of service for taxpayers and the collection of tax revenues; (b) modernize the fiscal administration; and (c) increase tax collection and reduce tax evasion.

 

• Digital port (e-Port) to set up an integrated port management system to improve land zone utilization, drive insights, ease interoperability of various actors’ data systems, and open opportunities to set up a one-stopshop for e-payment transactions.

 

Digital Senegal - 2025

 

Over the past decade, Senegal has embarked on a series of economic reforms which were accelerated with the launch in November 2012 of a new development masterplan - Plan Senegal Emergent (PSE). PSE aims to boost sustained and inclusive economic growth and make Senegal an emerging economy by 2035, making ICT sector, as a core enabler for a broader digital economy, a prominent priority. The long-term sectoral vision is further specified in the Digital Senegal Strategy 2025 that was launched in 2016 and specified priority axes.

 

Through the Plan Sénégal Emergent (PSE), Senegal has set a new course by focusing on the structural transformation of its economy to achieve strong, sustained and sustainable growth. The PES relies on the development of new engines around agriculture, agribusiness, social housing, mining and tourism, but also on a consolidation traditional drivers of growth such as the Telecommunications sector, which is the locomotive of the digital economy. It is the foundation on which the digital transition of the whole society will be built, with drastic change in people's lifestyles and in the economic models of the companies.

 

It is in this context that the "Digital Senegal 2025" strategy was developed. It embodies Senegal's ambition to maintain its position as an innovative leader. This strategy is a long term vision; it is made up of prerequisites and axes priorities based on the slogan "digital for all and for all uses in the digital world". 2025 in Senegal with a dynamic and innovative private sector in an ecosystem performance".

 

Key objectives

The ambition of the "Digital Senegal 2025" strategy at the economic level is to give back a new lease of life for the sector, bringing new sources of growth and new opportunities.  The aim is to increase the contribution of digital technology to GDP to 10% by 2025. Projections made in this area also forecast an increase in GDP by effect of of other key sectors through digital technology, in the order of 300 billion FCFA (USD 500 mn). Finally, it will be a question of taking advantage of the strong potential of digital technology in terms of job creation, with a target of creating 35,000 direct jobs in the digital sector by 2025, in line with PES objectives.

ADIE

The State IT Agency (ADIE) is an autonomous structure responsible for implementing the computerization policy defined by the President of the Republic. As such, ADIE is responsible for leading and promoting, in coordination with the various departments of the Administration, other State bodies and local communities, all types of actions enabling the Administration to acquire '' a coherent system for processing and disseminating information, meeting international standards in terms of quality, security, performance and availability.

Through it, the Government of Senegal has adopted an approach aimed at improving the public service by relying on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

In order to contribute to good governance by promoting an effective and efficient digital administration at the service of the citizen, ADIE is developing a set of products and services including Assistance, Support and maintenance, Administrative procedures portal, Introduction to basic computing, Material recycling, Installation of multimedia rooms, Training, Data network diagnostics, Telecom network diagnostics, Computer systems diagnostics, Safety diagnosis, Key Management Infrastructure (PKI), Project management, Digitization of meetings: e-Consulting, Annual Work Plan: e-PTA, Study and design of applications, Assistance to the work of mastery, Geomatics, Study and implementation of websites, Design and production of agent identification media, Electronic Mail Management System: SyGEC

ADIE is implementing technological tools to promote efficient e-Administration, at the service of users.

In line with the “Digital Senegal 2025” strategy which is a vision linked to the Emerging Senegal Plan (PSE), ADIE is implementing technological tools to promote efficient e-Administration, at the service of users. By the same token, ADIE is working on the digital transformation of Senegal thanks to a few flagship projects such as:

PASSING : Structural Support Project for the Digital Regional Development Strategy

Smart Senegal : An innovative commitment to accelerate sustainable socio-economic development

National Broadband Project : A vast fiber optic network infrastructure and equipment for the digital access to Senegal

Digitalization : Digitization of administrative procedures

PAMA : Administrative Messageries Improvement and Modernization Project

National Geomatics Plan : Shared management of the territory and geographic information

TeleDAc : Tele Request for Administrative Acts

PHM - Websites : Project of Harmonization and Modernization of Administration Websites

Administrative intranet : A high-speed government network for voice, video and data

FUDPE : Unified State Personnel Data File

GD3E : Management of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)

The Gambia

 

Geographically, Gambia is strategically located and approximately 7 hours across the Atlantic to the Americas and 5-6 hours to Europe. It harbors a sea port and a navigable river that cuts through the entire country with less than 50 kilometers away from major cities and towns. The River Gambia empties into the Atlantic Ocean, thereby providing a great opportunity to means of transportation for goods and services.  Based on its strategic location and the increase of mobile, computer and internet users, The Gambia can become a Technological Hub for ICT Investment. Investors can utilize this opportunity to provide goods and services across the country and even extending to neighboring and landlocked countries in the region.

 

On average, each Gambian has at least a mobile phone. The population of the Country is predominantly youth.  Among them, more than one-third occupies at least two phones. The youthful population in the Gambia heavily relies on ICT usage influenced by the revolution of social media services such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram among others.  The main obstacle is access to reliable and fast internet connection, which is due to the high-cost of broadband services. Cellular companies have very limited 3G services which do not provide enough capacity to users, resulting in poor access. Another hurdle is that of monopolies in providing certain services, which has resulted in increased costs of those services such a Voice. The time required to Procurement and delivery of ICT goods and services is also a concern. Most ICT equipment is imported into the country. This importation process increases delay, because most goods are shipped via sea to domestic vendors. The delay hinders project delivery timelines and hampers national development efforts.

 

The Africa to Europe Submarine Cable (ACE) has increased the national bandwidth capacity beyond tenfold - creating an avenue for telecom operators or internet service providers to tap-in and provide last mile connectivity to their customers. By utilizing this opportunity, it will help increase broadband penetration rates, the utilization of ICTs, promote effective, efficient, robust and secure service delivery, job creation and the acceleration of sustainable socio-economic development.

 

Business routine in The Gambia has been shifting rapidly amid a fast growing "digital economy" that enables people to access their needs more quickly. The internet is quickly changing the face of commerce in The Gambia. With a young population – a huge number of them tech savvy and well-connected to internet through smart phones, more and more people are opting for electronic commerce or e-commerce as it delivers a comprehensive range of benefits to retailers and merchants. Today, the number of consumers and producers purchasing and selling products or services through electronic systems like computer networks and the Internet is growing.

 

Although technology have been existing in the country for a reasonably long time, particularly in the areas of internet and telecommunications, the pace of change in business wrought by the Internet has been surprising. The interventions of digital economy are being seen in business sectors such as energy (electricity cash power), money transfers through mobile phones, online marketing and shopping.

 

Research by The Gambian Public Utility Regulatory Authority:

 

Ansumana Sanneh, the director of country's Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA), said recently that many consumers have started taking advantage of digital economy and e-commerce services to save time and energy. He said that all major commercial banks in the country provide e-banking services while two mobile operators namely Africell and Qcell also offer mobile money transfer services. According to him, the energy sector alone through digital payment saved over D150 million (3.2 million U.S. dollars) in 2017 just for electricity. Sanneh said mobile companies also allow Gambians abroad to purchase cash power through money transfer systems for family use back home.

 

A research conducted by PURA recently indicated that the usage of mobile internet continues to register impressive growth -- the subscription has tremendously increased by 64 percent in 2015 from over 700,000 subscriptions to about 1.2 million subscriptions.

 

According to Momodou Sabally, The Gambia's former director of budget, mobile telephone and modern ICT like internet connectivity has become vital to business. He said The Gambia again leapt to the forefront by joining the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) consortium, thereby granting modern internet access to individuals and businesses at home. The development has greatly aided e-commerce in the country. Practically every business has an online presence and this has impacted on the speed and efficiency of service delivery. The banking sector has become closer to their customers through e-banking services like customer email alerts about bank balances and real time transactions on their accounts.

 

The cost of internet in the country remains too high for the users, which is one of the challenges confronting the digital economy in the Gambia. Lowering of charges coupled with faster internet speed could further transform businesses in The Gambia and therefore unleash greater economic growth since the Gambian economy is largely service-based with the service sectors accounting for more than half of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

 

Digital Gambia - Concept Paper by The Gambian Government:

 

According to a recently published Concept Paper on Digital Gambia, the goal of the National Development Plan (NDP) 2018-2021, is: Making the Gambia a Digital Economy and Creating a Modern Information Society.  Entities have been invited to establish partnership with the Gambia government through the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure (MOICI) for implementation. The partnerships will be in a form of, but not limited to:  joint-ventures, grants, Build, Operate and Transfer (BOTs) initiatives.

 

Under the Critical Enablers of the NDP, The Gambia was envisaged to become a Digital Economy by 2021.  The potential of it happening is informed by the rate of usage of ICTs in the country, particularly in the Mobile industry: the penetration rates for mobile services, fixed lines, and internet services exceeds 130 percent, 2 percent and 20 percent respectively. Considering the small land size and population of nearly 2 million people, the country marvels with four GSM providers and more than six internet service providers. With the advent of the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable, the Internet has increased tenfold with an estimated bandwidth capacity of more than 100Gbps, thereby providing a great opportunity to connect the entire country to utilize the capacity and streamline ICT services. The ACE has been complimented with a Next-Generation Broadband Network (NBN), which provides a fiber-ring backbone surrounding the entire country. The NBN is a great resource to tap into and provide last-mile connectivity through Metropolitan Fiber Hubs (much of which will be discussed further in this paper).

 

The achievement of this goal will help provide the expected results, which is to increase the percentage of population using the internet daily from 46.8% to 90%, increase the proportion of population with access to mobile phones from 78.9% to 90%, increase the proportion of schools connected to broadband internet from 6% to 12% and the existence of National Information and communications Infrastructure policy II (ICT Master Plan) and other legal and regulatory frameworks in pace with current ICT trends.

 

However, in the usage of ICTs, there are challenges hindering the potential of growth; in particular, with internet or broadband penetration. If these barriers are broken, it will almost single-handedly enable us achieve the Goal, which is to transform the Gambia into a Digital Economy. Further challenges include affordability of broadband services, poor access network, insufficient investment and maintenance on the last mile connectivity, monopolies, insufficient regulatory capacities, resource mobilization issues, gateway liberalization issues, less stringent Regulatory and legislative framework for secured and fair use of ICTs; high cost of ICT equipment; slow pace of development of local software or applications to address pertinent issues,  insufficient human capacities and funding, issues of transition from analogue to digital broadcasting due to equipment and cost implications, among others.

 

The challenges can be addressed by increasing ICT investments opportunities from both local and foreign companies, building strong bilateral and technical cooperation with the international community, mobilization of resources, capacity building - establishment of a Technology Park, Improvement of e-Government Services, improvement of Regulatory Services and Policies, enhancement of the Access Networks for Last mile Connectivity, establishment of a National Data Center, increase roll out of regional ICT Centers to enhance connectivity to schools and communities, achieving digital switch over and analogue switch off, strengthening cyber-security, enhancement of postal service delivery,  establishment of a National Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) and Improvement of Electronic Commerce (e-Commerce).

 

Components/intervention areas identified by The Gambia for partnership:

 

In order to achieve the aspiration of a Digital Gambia, the areas requiring intervention consist of 13 targets. They are as follows:

1.           Establishment of a Technology Park

2.           Enhancement of Access Network for Last mile connectivity

3.           Establishment of a National Data Center

4.           Improvement of Regulatory Policies & Instruments

5.           Increase roll out of regional ICT Centers to enhance connectivity to schools and communities

6.           Achieving digital switch over and analogue switch off

7.           Strengthening Cybersecurity

8.           Enhancement of postal service delivery

9.           The establishment of a National Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI).

10.        Promotion of Electronic Commerce (e-Commerce)

11.        Enhancement of E-Government Services

12.        Capacity Building

13.        Resource Mobilization

Cabo Verde

 

Cabo Verde started its first steps in e-Government solutions in 1998. In the next 20 years many goals have been accomplished: (i) a private telecommunication network (ii) a data Center (iii) a “factory” for software development (iv) more than 70 e-goverments applications , and counting, some of these recognized and awarded. These e-goverment applications have been developed from the start within an “integration concept” framework, with the help of a proprietary Applications Studio called Integrated Government Resource Planning (IGRP).

 

Digital Agenda Cabo Verde, announced in 2019

 

The Digital Agenda of Cabo Verde, focuses on a “new national vision” for broadband, the digital dividend and on analogue complements to transform the country into a Digital Centre.

 

The project intends to contribute to economic diversification and promote digital technologies included in the Strategic Plan for Sustainable Development for 2018–2030, in sectors such as health, education and transport and to be an effective “accelerator” in the tourism sector.

 

The Digital Agenda aims to contribute to the transformation of the country into a digital centre with a view to accelerating the digital economy, through quality digital infrastructure, increased demand for services, and digital skills to improve competitiveness.

 

The implementation of this agenda will be co–financed by the World Bank, with an amount of US$30 million over five years.

 

Within the Digital Agenda, the government has created the Special Economic Zones for Technologies, which will be located in the Cabo Verde Technological Park, which includes business centres for incubation, certification and training, an administrative building, auditorium and data centre with hubs in Praia and in Mindelo.

 

The cost of the Technological Park project, with completion scheduled for mid-2020, is estimated at €35 million and is funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the Cabo Verde state‘s contribution is around €4 million.

 

NOSI

 

One organisation in particular dealing with in e-Government solutions is known as NOSI (Operational Nucleus of the Information Society) It all began with the foundation of the State Financial Administration Reform Unit (RAFE) in 1998. With this unit, overseen by the Ministry of Finance, e-Government in Cape Verde took its first steps towards improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the Public Administration through new budgetary, financial and asset management instruments supported by a modern technological platform and by national technicians.

 

Initially limited to the Ministry of Finance, RAFE's activities quickly spread to the Public Administration, contributing to the start of the modernisation process in other sectors of the State. In response to growing demand and in accordance with the government's strategic vision, the Núcleo Operacional da Sociedade de Informação (NOSi) was created in July 2003 by a resolution of the Council of Ministers as the Operational Unit of the Interministerial Commission for Innovation and the Information Society, chaired by the Prime Minister of Cape Verde. Since then, major gains have been achieved, particularly in the field of infrastructure and application content. A secure and increasingly comprehensive communications platform is being implemented, linking a growing number of sectors of the state.

Today, the Private State Technological Network (RTPE) is a technological platform that enables State agents to access common services such as the Internet and electronic mail, but also application management solutions in the most diverse areas of State administration and governance, which are based on the established principle of system integration and which are privileged tools for the management of the Public Administration and the provision of new generation electronic services to citizens and companies, embodied in the concept of the Citizen's House.

 

In 2014, the Operational Nucleus for the Information Society was transformed into a Business Public Entity, EPE.

 

NOSI acts in various sectors as:

A.          Finance;

B.          Health & Social Security;

C.          Business Environment;

D.          Identification;

E.           Education;

F.           Local Government;

G.          Mobile;

H.          Elections…

 

A.          Finance

SIGOF - Integrated System of Budgetary and Financial Management is an instrument for the preparation, implementation and monitoring of the current State General Budget (OGE) at all levels - Central and Local Government and Autonomous Funds and Services. It is a platform of excellence for financial management in the State of Cabo Verde and, through integration, it allows for functional, organic and technological aggregation of financial management in a swift and transparent manner.

SIGOF Modules:

            Preparation, execution and monitoring of the General State Budget.

            Public debt management

            Salary processing and Public Administration Human Resources management;

            Electronic payments;

            E-procurement

            Asset Management

            Revenue management

            Contract management

            Cash Management and Forecast

            Project Monitoring and Evaluation

 

B.          Health & Social Security;

 To improve the provision of health services, we bet on the use of new technologies to increase the level of satisfaction of citizens. NOSi has implemented SIS - Integrated Health System. It is a tool that consists of a set of computer modules to support the integrated management of daily activities carried out in health structures, making a single model that allows interconnection between these structures contributing to maximize communication, management and even minimize costs.

 

C.           Business Environment

The country's approach to improving the efficiency of services involves a holistic approach, which allows the integration of all public services involved in the life cycle of the economic operator. The CVE (Business Life Cycle) - Registration, Licensing, Operation, Closure - is a solution that allows the incorporation of companies of the commercial type Public Limited Companies and/or Private Limited Companies - immediately, on the same day, from a single service balcony.

 

The process of setting up a company in a single day, the Janela Única de Investimento (JUI) (Single Investment Window) are examples of solutions designed thanks to the integration of the information systems of the companies involved. This common platform, called Platform for the Life Cycle of the Economic Operator, is supported by a set of transversal support systems, whose mission is to provide electronic information, through an integration platform, to the various stages of the Life Cycle of the Economic Operator. NOSi already has advanced solutions and in production in the Fiscal, Legal and Territorial Management environment.

 

D.          Identification

In this area we developed SNIAC - National System of Identification and Civil Authentication. It is part of the administrative modernization policy and has provided the State of CaboVerde with a safe and consistent identification system. It is committed to a Civil Identification and Authentication System that has allowed the reconstitution of the identification system and centralized management of the National Identification Card (CNI) and that serves as a base platform for the electoral system.

With SNIAC the structural basis for other identification systems/documents is created, such as the e-passport, which will gain new contours with the introduction of biometric information, thus being aligned with the current recommendations of the international community (ICAO, EU, USA) and best practices regarding security.

 

E.           Education

The scope of this programme focuses on the education system, the country's economic model and the social balance among the population. The various sectors of the education system, as well as other stakeholders such as associations or diasporas, will play a key role in its implementation. SIGE - Integrated School Management System - is a developed system that provides secondary and primary schools with a unique model so that they can be networked to a common system maximizing communication, management and minimizing costs. This system allows ES and EBI schools to improve their management, allowing a fast integration between them and the students and also with the parents/guardians of education.

 

SIGAE - Sistema Integrado Gestão e Acompanhamento dos Estudantes do Ensino Superior - is a management tool that aims to improve the control in the attribution of Vacancies, Scholarships, Financial Management, Registration of Scholarship Holders and their Follow-up in Cabo Verde and in the diaspora, thus creating a common system, maximizing communication, management capacity and minimizing costs.

 

F.           Local Government

The Municipal Information System includes the installation in the municipalities of computer infrastructures, local networks, data centres and an information system covering all areas of municipal management, namely, Financial Management, Human Resources, Taxes and Fees Management, Licensing, Land. It integrates the municipalities into the State Network and now has access to e-mail and the Internet. It also allows, in an integrated way, to manage the budgetary and financial process of municipal services in a more efficient and effective way.

 

It includes functionality to meet the Financial Management, Human Resources, Taxes and Fees Management, Licensing, Land Management. Property rights management, Management reports and management accounts.

 

G.          Mobile

It represents a positive impact in terms of reducing the costs of state services and communication and, above all, on the quality of services. It will certainly entail a considerable improvement in economic freedoms, the business environment and the competitiveness of the national economy in general. The mkonekta - Serviçus Públicus na Bu - allows in a simple, fast and safe way to have public services wherever you are, including in Bu .

 

Advantages:

            Proximity of the citizen with the Public Administration and Diaspora;

            Greater interactivity, staff mobility;

            Reduction of waiting lines;

            Reduction of flow in the front office;

            Agility in payment of services;

            Greater transparency

 

Main Functionalities:

            Electronic payments

            Consultation of useful information

            Inter-institutional collaboration

 

H.          Elections

SIE (Electoral Information System)

The system allows for quick, transparent and secure online and real-time communication and dissemination of election results. The ESI also allows any citizen to access election results from various channels (web, mobile applications, media). In a fully automated process, the system integrates and shares data from polling stations throughout the territory.   On the web, the system allows access to the results obtained in each electoral district in a single navigation interface and in one click. It also allows the generation of summary reports, graphs and tables.

 

Media, the system is designed and prepared to be appropriated by any Media, both Radio, TV, Online Newspapers.

Guinea-Bissau

 

Guinea-Bissau does not yet have an approved strategy for public administration reform, although the national development plan, known as Terra Ranka 2015-2020, pronounces on the "reform and strengthening of public administration and consists of two pillars: modernisation and implementation capacities (Government of Guinea-Bissau, 2015). As part of this strategy for greater efficiency and effectiveness in the management of civil, land and business registries, Terra Ranka proposes the creation of a multifunctional national biometric identity card, the development of georeferenced data through the mapping of the national territory and the improvement of the registration services of legal entities (RCCM and Fiscal Identity). In the area of public finance management, Terra Ranka intends to strengthen the capacities of the National Statistics Institute and consolidate SIGFIP (Integrated System of Public Finance Management), the national public financial management system as a way of reforming local authorities and territorial administration and decentralizing the promotion of participatory development.

 

Opportunities

 

In Guinea-Bissau, there is an urgent need for a data centre to enable sustainable public sector digitization and optimize the interoperability of government information systems. As the digitisation of the country's public administration is at a very early stage, the digitisation of public records and processes is being carried out using often basic external hard drives or disks. The absence of a data centre undermines the efforts made.

 

The RCCM (Registre du Commerce et du Crédit Mobilier) is an integrated system that allows Guinea-Bissau to have reliable information and real statistics on business creation and commercial activity. The RCCM-OHADA is built like a pyramid: at the base, the local registers are kept in the register of the competent jurisdiction or by a body designated by the State; the information from different registers is centralised in a national file; and at the top of the pyramid, the regional file, kept in the CCJA (Common Court of Justice and Arbitration), guarantees the centralisation of the information recorded in the national files. Complete digitisation allows the preservation and dissemination of reliable and up-to-date information, in real time and electronic format, to all stakeholders and businesses. The purpose of this information sharing is to promote transparency of the business environment in OHADA member states.

 

Centre for Technological Enhancement and eGovernment

 

The Centre for Technological Appreciation and Electronic Governance is headed by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and Parliamentary Affairs, and is the government body responsible for implementing and monitoring the policy measures adopted by the Government in relation to the Information Society and proposes to do so:

 

- To create digital platforms for the dissemination of all acts of governance and due monitoring of civil society and the population in general;

- Plan and implement integral and integrated electronic governance between sectors, public-private-civil society.

 

Regional Attractions

 

As to attractions of the region, to Indian trade and industry, climate is warm and favourable for comfortable living and working. Dakar is a hub of intercontinental air traffic, well connected with EU and US. Region has found oil and gas resources and is blessed with moderate climate throughout the year. Best climatic conditions obtain with temperature 15-20 degree in winters and 20-28 degrees in summer.  Cultural & social values & joint family system is very similar to India's. Democratic & stable polity, good safety and security in west Africa, sound law & order condition make Dakar preferred headquarter for MNCs and regional / multilateral organizations. International schools and education in English are available.  Countries welcome guests under their cultural traditions of Teranga.

 

The opportunities in Digital Economy, with all its manifestations, are multifarious in West Africa, which provides a stable political environment as well as access to other lucrative markets such as the EU and ECOWAS. Although the Covid pandemic has certainly affected the potential of these countries, there is no denying the fact that the pandemic itself has provided opportunities especially in Digital Economy, and specifically in areas such as e-Commerce, e-Health, e-Education etc.

Summary of Highlights

 

Below is the summary of the points made in the presentations highlighting the opportunities in the four countries of accreditation:

 

Senegal:  36% smartphone adoption rate; a high entrepreneurial activity rate with 39% of the population aged 18 to 64 either setting up or heading a new company; and availability of diverse co-working spaces including 15 incubators and accelerators, serving the needs of a community of over 2,500 startups.

 

Three additional potential areas in Senegal are:

 

• Digital identity (e-ID) (a) complete the coverage of the e-ID beyond the current 70 percent of the population

• Digital taxation (e-Tax) to (a) to improve the quality of service; (b) modernize the fiscal administration; and (c) increase tax collection and reduce tax evasion.

• Digital port (e-Port) integrated port management system to improve land zone utilization, drive insights, ease interoperability of various actors’ data systems etc

 

The Gambia:  Increase in mobile subscription by 64 percent in 2015 to about 1.2 million subscriptions. Digital Gambia, the goal of the National Development Plan (NDP) 2018-2021, is: Making the Gambia a Digital Economy and Creating a Modern Information Society.  Entities have been invited to establish partnership with the Gambia government in a form of, but not limited to:  joint-ventures, grants, Build, Operate and Transfer (BOTs) initiatives.

 

Guinea-Bissau:  Largely untapped market;  Healthy growth of 26% in Internet users, digitisation of the country's public administration is at a very early stage; an urgent need for a data centre to enable sustainable public sector digitization and optimize the interoperability of government information systems.

 

Cabo Verde:  started its first steps in e-Government solutions in 1998; 101% mobile phone coverage, 57% Internet penetration; One entity dealing in e-Government solutions is known as NOSI (Operational Nucleus of the Information Society). Cabo Verde enjoys tariff-free entry to the EU market.

 

Webinar July 24, 2020

 

A webinar on opportunities for bilateral cooperation in the Digital Sector in our countries of accreditation was organized by the Embassy of India, Dakar on July 24, 2020. Invitees included Indian Export Promotion Organizations, such as CII, FICCI, FIEO etc, Indian Chambers of Commerce, Indian SMEs, state-wise digital companies in India, and Central and State Government officials and Ministries in India and accredited countries. Also invited were the Chambers of Commerce, government entities as well as companies in this sector in the four countries of accreditation of the Mission.

 

A number of queries were raised by the participants from all five (India, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Cabo Verde) places, enquiring about the possibilities of trading in individual products, forming partnerships, investments, etc.  Some of the queries raised were: establishment of online and physical IT centres, cooperation in Fintech, digitization of healthcare records, digitization of ports infrastructure, textile manufacturing, services to oil & gas sector companies, import tariffs, software applications for food processing, cooperation in IT security, digital payments sector, etc. The queries are being processed and will be responded in due course.

 

This webinar was very successful, with participation from Indian as well as companies from countries of accreditation showing the interest of Indian companies in this sector and in this region. The queries received indicate not only the interest of Indian companies in this region, but the desire of the local companies to attract Indian investment and establish mutually beneficial cooperative enterprises.

 

Way forward

 

All the resource material, report, recording of the webinar, list of participants in the webinar are available on Embassy website https://asp.embassyofindiadakar.gov.in/eoiaspHtml/digital.htm?s_keyword=webinar Indian companies keen to cooperate would be advised to: 1) undertake conversation with potential partners here 2) advance information exchange via online channels to the extent they can 3) visit at an appropriate opportunity whether individually or as part of delegation to carry forward their discussion with their counterparts.

 

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