Photograph — CNN

The World Bank has approved a $180 million International Development Association (IDA) credit to Senegal in order to improve the policy and institutional structures of the energy and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) sectors, to build a viable digital economy in the West African country.

The multi-sectoral structural reform Development Policy Financing (DPF) operations have supported Senegal’s effort in the past one and the half years to strengthen its economy, improve the energy sector as well as contribute to the legal and regulatory framework of the ICT sector to promote competition, investment, and development of their economy at large.

Louise Cord, the World Bank Country Director for Senegal said: “ICT and Digital Economy are central to Senegal’s competitiveness and economic transformation. Priorities in ICT include improving governance of the sector; opening the market to competition and investment across all segments of infrastructure; and facilitating universal access, thanks to a concession of the unused capacity of the vast government fiber optic network”.

About four billion people are connected to the internet in the world today, more than half of the world’s population. Everything is gradually becoming digitized, with the global economy is also undergoing a digital transformation of its own. A digital economy is taking shape and the conventional notions on how business should be structured, how firms interact and how customers obtain services, information and goods are being weakened.

The world is changing and is gradually moving to an era of the digital economy. It is developing worldwide and it is an important driver for innovation, growth as well as development, and holds a huge potential for entrepreneurs and startups.

The World Bank Group has been putting in efforts to ensure that African countries harness the huge potential for digital impact by ensuring that the five foundations of digital economy are in place- Digital infrastructure, Literacy and skills, Financial services, Platforms, and Digital entrepreneurship and innovation.

During the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings earlier in the year, the World Bank launched the Digital Economy for Africa (DE4A). The meeting brought together African finance and ICT ministers, Central Bank Governors, global tech and telecom giants, digital entrepreneurs. The event underlined the role of the digital economy as a new driver of growth and began discussions on how to build its foundations and the risks of being left behind.

Senegal has a new Telecommunications Code to strengthen the quality of governance in the ICT sector and improve competition. A National Digital Council has also been created by the government to promote the implementation of the Senegal Digital Strategy 2025 project.

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