(Ecofin Agency) - In Africa, the digitization of public services was accelerated in 2020, driven by the coronavirus pandemic. However, the connectivity that allows access to them is not yet accessible to all. In Senegal, the government is moving to address that issue.
Macky Sall (photo), Senegal’s President, has instructed the improvement of network coverage. During the ministerial council on March 21, he asked the Minister of Digital Economy and Telecommunications to take measures to develop the Universal Service Funds for Telecommunications.
At the council, the Head of State stressed the “need to redeploy and improve the intervention mechanisms of the Universal Service Funds for Telecommunications (FDSUT), a promotion tool,” whose activities still have to primarily go through an institutional evaluation.
According to the latest data published by the country’s telecom regulator ARTP, Senegal has 15,418,058 Internet subscribers, representing a 92.29% penetration rate. The ARPT failed to disclose the network coverage rate, however. Indeed, the internet penetration rate is calculated by dividing the number of SIM cards by the number of residents (estimated to be 16,705,608 by the national agency for demography ANSD in 2020). Considering that in urban areas some residents have more than one SIM card, some regions may still be poorly covered.
Currently, Senegal is accelerating the digitization of its public services and the digital transformation of several strategic sectors such as health and education. It is therefore crucial for the country to improve access to telecom service, internet, and mobile payments notably, even in remote areas.
For the President of the Republic, that improvement is the only way for all Senegalese to fully participate in the digital society promoted by Plan Sénégal Emergent, the country’s 2014-2023 development strategy.