Startup Act – Let the only labeled Senegalese startup raise your hand! (Basílio Niane)

Senegal is the most prominent country in West Africa in terms of design, preparation of strategic documents, whatever the field of intervention (health, agriculture, technology), signing of decrees… Economic development.

This national voyeurism, which hides the country’s development dynamics, is unfortunately just a showcase for the realization of certain projects of extreme urgency.

Between the conception and the realization of the projects, the time has no limit. Lack of follow-up, latency in implementation, in short, a multitude of dysfunctions imposed without risk or pressure.

At a time when African countries are raising funds, boosting their ecosystem through simple and adapted measures that can increase the pace of economic growth, in Senegal we continue to implement strategies, namely those of creating and boosting the startup whose objective is “establish a framework of incentives for the creation and development of startups in Senegal based on creativity, innovation, use of new technologies, obtaining high added value and national and international competitiveness.
We recall that this law refers, in particular, to:

  • The creation of a specific support and governance framework for start-ups under Senegalese law
  • The establishment of an adequate legal regime for the registration and labeling of Senegalese start-ups
  • The creation of a resource center dedicated to Senegalese start-ups, in particular to facilitate labeling procedures, as well as the effectiveness of support mechanisms
  • The consecration of a package of relevant incentive measures that are in line with the imperative to promote and support the development of the Senegalese start-up.

Adopted by the National Assembly since January 6, 2020 (law 2020-01), this new measure to facilitate the growth of Senegalese entrepreneurs remains on stand-by.

However, Senegal, with this adoption, is the second country in Africa to have gone through all the stages of implementing a law for startups after Tunisia, whose already labeled startups reached a turnover of 120 million dinars in 2021. A volume of business monopolized by eCommerce, the Edtech, Business Software and AI sectors.

This proves that Tunisia is an example of success in implementing the startup act that takes time to materialize in our country. Also in Ghana, the state implemented income tax exemptions and personal tax exemptions for individuals to ease the tax burden of eligible individuals. Initiatives aimed at encouraging investment in various strategic sectors in the country.
In Algeria, start-ups are already exempt for a period of 3 years from the start-up date of activity according to the Complementary Finance Law for 2020 (PLFC 2020).

What is blockade in Senegal?
Since the signing of the implementation decree by President Macky Sall in 2021, the initialization act has taken place in the misleading and non-functional communication used by certain authorities to throw smoke and mirrors on the ecosystem such as the National Digital Council.

Meanwhile, the burdens remain extremely heavy for startups, not to mention access not yet made available to the guarantee fund created by this law.

Why is the commission responsible for implementing the Startup Act unable to carry out the activities involved therein?
This entire support, monitoring and evaluation mechanism for start-ups remains inactive 10 months after the implementation decree was signed.

It’s not about denigrating initiatives and other big projects, but about wanting to shake things up and move things in the right direction.

It would therefore be necessary to further lubricate the “Do and act” mechanism in digital initiatives and break this nucleus of small groups of private actors that have controlled for years a digital mafia that ranges from the smallest to the largest business colored by great corruption. .

Senegal does not lack human resources or specialists in large-scale projects that affect the ecosystem. Proof, in 2021, more than 222 million dollars were raised in Senegal by growing startups; 16 startups raised no less than $100,000 or more. Among them, 7 raised more than 1 million dollars.

This constitutes a factor of creativity, innovation and adoption of new technologies, being able to achieve high added value and competitiveness at national and international level.

Basil Niane
Managing Director of Social Net Link

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