Reported by Victor O
Senegal is taking giant strides towards becoming a major technology center in Africa, going by its ongoing collaboration with the African Development Bank (ADB) to erect a multi-million dollar digital or smart city in the city of Diamniadio.
The government of Senegal has been locked in discussions with the ADB for some time now on the prospect of the proposed digital city. The feasibility study on the planned smart city puts the cost of its construction at $120 million, with the ADB expected to finance $100 million out of this total amount.
Yaya Abdoul Kane, the African country’s Minister of Telecommunications and Posts, said all that remains for the project to kick off is for the parties involved to put pen to paper on an agreement of partnership when negotiation ends in a month or two from now, according to African Property News.
The construction of the digital city, which has been named Diamniadio Valley, is expected to commence in June 2015. It will be sited on a piece of land measuring 25 x 150 hectares, approximately 30 kilometers away from the country’s capital city, Dakar. Diamniadio Valley is expected to play host to several data centers, smart buildings, broadband infrastructure, and an information technology training facility, amongst others.
Ranked 12th in the 2014 ITU Index for African countries with the most advanced ICT infrastructure, Senegal hopes the construction of the digital city will help boost its technology status in the sub region and on the continent, while also attracting investors willing to tap into the West African tech market. Similar tech hubs are also reportedly being planned for St. Louis, Diass, Sebikotane, and Ziguinchor.
Already, government officials have held discussions about the proposed smart city with a delegation from the Seongnam, South Korea-based KT Corporation (previously known as Korean Telecom), according to Minister Kane.
Several other countries in West Africa are toeing similar paths with the aim of boosting their tech status and appeal to investors. For example, a $56-million digital hub is being constructed in the Ivorian city of Grand Bassam, with government officials putting its expected completion at 30 months. The oil-rich, Central African country of Gabon also has plans to build a Cyber city on the Island of Mandji. Cyber cities can also be found in some other countries on the continent, including Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya.