Senegal aims for digital sovereignty with new China-backed data centre

DAKAR, June 22 (Reuters) - Senegal will move all government data and digital platforms from foreign servers to a new national data centre in hopes of strengthening its digital sovereignty, the president said on Tuesday.

“I’m instructing the government from henceforth to migrate all state data and platforms to the data centre. We have to rapidly repatriate all national data hosted out of the country,” President Macky Sall said at the launch of the centre.

Financed with a Chinese loan and built with equipment and technical support from China’s Huawei, the data centre will tap into global networks through an undersea cable as well as the country’s own 6,000-km (3,730-mile) fibre optic network.

State-owned businesses such as Senelec, the national electricity company, will also move their data to the centre in tandem with government agencies, Sall said.

The centre will serve both the public and private sectors, and offer a cheaper infrastructure to Senegal’s growing community of tech startups than entrepreneurs will find abroad, he added

Sall said the centre will boost Senegal’s internet connectivity and position the West African nation as a technological hub for the entire region. (Reporting by Diadie Ba Writing by Bate Felix Editing by Jonathan Oatis)