In a bid to strengthen its role as a regional tech hub, Cabo Verde have signed a €14 million loan agreement to enhance the Cabo Verde Technology Park by making it more climate resilient and supportive of enterprise development.
The agreement, which was signed on 19 July in Praia, Cabo Verde will offer more than 50 tech startups from across Africa integration grants of at least €5,000 each.
The African Development Bank earlier had provided a loan of €31.59 million to finance the first phase of the state-of-the-art technology park, which is already transforming the country into an innovative regional information and communication hub.
The park, which functions as a special economic zone with tax and import duty incentives, will draw ICT professionals from across Africa. It has two campuses: one in the capital, Praia and the second on the island of São Vicente.
As part of phase two, the hub will be equipped to run on renewable energy and, as part of a public-private partnership, furnished with two data centers.
The Cabo Verde ICT hub will launch a €1 million seed fund to invest in approximately 20 innovative Cabo Verde startups. It will offer more than 50 tech startups from across Africa integration grants of at least €5,000 each. There are also plans to collaborate with international universities and corporations to extend soft skills training to 300 African youth over the next three years as well as help prepare them to secure jobs that will be created as part of the Fourth industrial revolution.
Cabo Verde’s Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Olavo Avelino Garcia Correia, signed the loan agreement. He expressed his enthusiasm for the project’s transformative potential. He said, “Our ambition is to transform Cabo Verde into a digital nation, with a circulating economy and the technology parks in Praia being part of this significant government strategy.”
During the ceremony, Uyoyo Edosio, the African Development Bank’s project lead, stressed the project’s synergies. She said that Cabo Verde’s unique advantage in terms of tourism will now be enhanced as tourism will meet technology.
Commenting on the loan signing, Dr. Abdu Mukhtar, the African Development Bank’s Director for Industrial & Trade Development, said: “The next generation of African talents need not seek opportunities abroad; Cabo Verde possesses the necessary infrastructure and a supportive political system to cultivate their dreams and ambitions within their homeland.”