Senegal : Best Practices on e-governance

14 November 2007 - A Best Practice Forum on Regional & National Initiatives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Ministry of Telecommunications, Posts and ICT

Agence de l'Informatique de l'Etat

Agence de Régulation des Télécommunications et des Postes



Additional Information
The principal aim of this presentation is to explain ICT policy and several major actions to implement this policy in Senegal. Because of our tradition of democracy, multistakeholder approach is part of our culture and drives all our activities. For this forum, the government invites private sector, academic community and civil society to attend to all preparatory meetings. All segments of society work together for the development of Information Society. We will address challenges, difficulties and expectation for the future for these major projects.

1. Country/Institution background

Since 2000, the political orientation has put forward the vision of His Excellency the President WADE, to use "Information Technology and Communication as a powerful vehicle for accelerating economic growth and modernization of Senegal ".

This was reaffirmed at the definition of the “strategy for accelerated growth” by considering ICT and teleservices as one of the five clusters with high potential development. The most salient legal and institutional measures are as follows:

  • Creation of a ministry in charge of ICT promotion (2000)?
  • Adoption of a new code of Telecommunications (2000)?
  • Creation of telecommunications and Posts regulation agency (ARTP) (2001)?
  • Establishment of Government Computer Science Agency (ADIE) (2004)?
  • Liberalization of telecommunications market (2004)?
  • Publication of Telecommunications policy letter (2005)?
  • Adoption of the new Strategy for Growth Accelerated (2007-2015)?
  • Presidential Decree Establishing telecommunications universal service fund (2007)?

ICT policy have 3 strategic objectives:

  • The government of Senegal uses ICT for its internal operations and for the service to citizens.
  • The educational system is efficient and responsive to the training of human resources in the emerging field of business-related development of ICT.
  • Senegal is at the forefront of countries producing and exporting information products and services with high added value.

For proactive implementing of this policy, 3 mechanisms were considered to mobilize required funds :

  • Establishment of telecommunications universal service funds;
  • Fund rising at international level through bilateral or multilateral cooperation and international capital markets.
  • Creation of ICT promoting funds and an ICT investment funds which will be supplied by public and private resources;

2. ICT development and general status

Senegal has a very strong ICT policy and good infrastructure of telecommunications. There are 3 million cellular telephone lines (January 2007), among 36% penetration rate, a national IP backbone covering all the territory since 1999 supplying permanent Internet access, ADSL network since 2002 covering all cities, capitals of department. Senegal is also a Sub regional Internet eXchange Point connecting Mali, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Burkina Faso.

All universities and secondary schools are connected to Internet and have a special rate for connection.

17,000 telecenters provide public phones.

3. Internet industry development and general status

Senegal promotes e-services industry by putting in place conductive environment for Outsourcing activity since 2002. Then 4000 jobs were created by 30 companies. Because of i) strong culture of democracy, ii) excellent telecommunications infrastructure; iii) high-quality of human resources and iv) conducive environment, Senegal is as an ideal destination for outsourcing centres.

3. Previous/current problems in the Internet sector

Wide access is the biggest issue of Internet sector. To improve access and fight the digital divide, the government has put in place 2 projects:

  • Multimedia Community Centre (MCC) = radio station + Telecentre. Each MCC has at least 1 radio transmitter 250 W; 5 computers connected to the Internet; 1 printer; 1 Scanner; 1 Digital Photo Camera; 1 Phone / Fax; 1 Copier. By using local languages, MCC promotes massive ICT access and more participation on developing content. It is a powerful tool for rural and suburban people.
  • Telecommunication Universal Service Funds. 2 year pilot phase will allow Deployment of telecommunications infrastructures, Internet Access and applications in the areas of e-government, e-health and e-commerce for MATAM, a new region. All the process was done in coordination with NGOs, local private sector, local population and the national and regional authorities.

4. Policy measures implemented and being implemented, impediments, issues faced

To establish communication among the institutions inside the government, Senegal establishes a governmental intranet in 2 phases. The strategy was based to e-Senegal Visio that promote :

  • Institutional reforms for better management of the Information System
  • An overall reflection on ICT sector and the State's Information System
  • Major projects to build infrastructure networks for Administration
  • Implementation of Training strategy for public servants

At the first stage achieved in 2007, all ministerial building in Dakar were connected by optic fibber and services like Voice over IP for free and unlimited Communications among all sites, Internal abbreviated dialling, Centralization of outgoing calls, improvement of Internal Communication, E-mail services, Collaborative tools are available. The economic impact was very important.

For the second phase, all cities in Senegal will be connected using broadband infrastructure. This network will connect also schools and hospitals. This is planned to be lunched at the end of 2009.

Another objective of this government is to improve services to citizens and businesses. For that, A website dedicated to administrative procedure was launched in May 2006. The main objectives of this site are: i) To make information available, simple and reliable; ii) to Avoid travel to citizens for getting administrative papers; iii) to Allow citizens to better understand their rights and obligations; iv) to Allow public officials to find the administrative information, reference texts and forms, especially if they are out of Dakar.

To date, the site provides 120 online procedures using 2 spaces for individuals and professionals.

For next phase under implementation, it is planned to set up 300 procedures.

There are still legislation issues that have to be addressed, like pedophilia, spam, etc. Therefore a legal framework for the Information Society is currently in process. A basic law supplemented by 3 specific texts 1) Personal data Act; 2) Cybercrime Act, Electronic transactions Act. These Texts are adopted by the Council of Ministers in early 2007 and awaiting adoption by National Assembly. A text on Cryptology is being prepared.

The Problems faced are : i) Slowness of adoption process; ii) Training of those who are responsible for applying the laws; iii) Modernization in parallel of judicial system, iv) Harmonization with the legal framework of ECOWAS.

5. Results (previous/hoped for) of policy interventions

  • Creation of a formal space with all stakeholders at highest level like a national e-commission for Internet Society for proactive implementation of public policies;
  • More funds for better participation on fora related to Internet development (e.g. ICANN, IGF);

6. Unintended consequences of policy interventions, good and bad

  • Demand of Generalization of ICT in education
  • ICT access Demand from rural community
  • Local Private sector request to be more involved to ICT policy and projects

7. Unresolved issues; their locus, how might they be addressed

  • Improvement of number of PC per family
  • R&D to develop interface and tools for illiterate people
  • Production and dissemination of useful local content
  • Lower price of Internet Access.

8. Insights gained as a result of the experience, concluding thoughts

Beyond its technological aspect, the governmental intranet is part of a broader transformation of the administration in order to better deliver services to meet needs of the individuals and businesses. All these innovations will lead to the modernization of Senegal to get more transparency, to be able to Re-shape procedures, to Streamline circuits of information and Re-organize the work for more efficiency and results end at the end of the day, to Develop of one-stop shop for citizen.

24 Multimedia Community Centers were installed by 20 planned covering all regions in Senegal.

Leadership and Vision of the Head of State help to achieve aims.