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Senegal discusses how ICT can strengthen the digital economy

September 21, 2013  »  ICT PolicyNo Comment

This season is a busy one for national internet governance forums! In addition to Uganda and Togo earlier this month (and Kenya early next week), Senegal hosted a “Forum National sur la Gouvernance de l’Internet” on September 19, 2013. The event, with three key panels, was organized by ISOC Senegal under the theme of economic development. The first panel discussed the role of various Senegalese ICT stakeholders. The second asked how to bring together private entities to strengthen Senegal’s digital economy. Lastly, the Minister of Communication, Telecommunications and Digital Economy spoke on strengths and weaknesses of Senegal’s digital economy.

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{ISOC Senegal}

Seydou Badiane has written an excellent recap of the event which is posted on Social Net Link. #FGISN2013 also has a substantial amount of content spoken by panelists, mostly shared by @seybalogos and @NatachaSeck:

Senegal (government?, investors?) does not yet take seriously ICT entrepreneurs:

Mobile operators should fund incubators and startups:

Should create internet clubs in schools:

Quantifying ICT progress is difficult:

The state expresses readiness to make ICT boost the economy:

National 3G coverage still won’t bring services to the illiterate:

A visual showing the players in the Senegalese ICT ecosystem:

Of course the event was not without its criticisms. Issues of limited youth and female participation came up. For example, a Minister expressed the government’s desire to encourage youth participation. Yet no youth were given the podium at this event. Another critique was how the same issues are discussed over and over by ICT stakeholders yet little change is seen the next year. A shift in the ICT paradigm is needed to actually strengthen Senegal’s digital economy.