At a glance

Senegal’s digital ecosystem is still small in size but nevertheless considered one of the most dynamic in francophone West Africa. The country is characterized by relatively high levels of entrepreneurial activity: 39 percent of the Senegalese population aged 18 to 64 start or run a small or micro enterprise. The Senegalese government is promoting the development of the innovation ecosystem along the “Digital Senegal 2025” strategy, which now includes more than 15 incubators, accelerators and coworking spaces. This network has already supported over 2,500 start-ups and entrepreneurs.

Some of these offerings come directly from the local digital ecosystem. The CTIC (Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition), the Jokkolabs Dakar, the Impact Hub Dakar, the Yeesal AgriHub and many others prove that it does not always take foreign investment to strengthen the digital ecosystem. However, the level of professionalization and specialization of these often-nascent structures varies widely. The start-ups’ focus topics include fintech, the Internet of Things or the application of artificial intelligence.

The broad topic of digitization is given high political priority in Senegal. One reason for this is that the digital sector is seen as an opportunity to combat youth unemployment. However, there are still major obstacles in the form of unequal access to the Internet and other digital services. Rural population groups and women are particularly affected by this.

Our approach

The Digital Transformation Center Senegal aims to address these challenges to enable a sustainable, human-centred and self-determined digital transformation in the country. The Digital Transformation Center focusses on promoting employment through digital innovation. To this end, the Digital Transformation Center builds on the extensive preliminary work done to support an IT start-up center as part of the BMZ’s special initiative on training and employment, as well as on the digital components of the German development’s energy policy program.