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The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the government of Cape Verde, an island nation located off the western coast of Africa, have announced the signing of a €14 million (about $15.4 million) loan agreement aimed at expanding the Cape Verde Technology Park’s capacity to support start-ups.
The agreement builds on an earlier €31.59 million loan provided by the AfDB, which helped establish the Technology Park as a hub of innovation and support for information and communication professionals across Africa. Operating as a special economic zone, the park offers tax breaks and import duty exemptions that are set to attract start-ups and professionals from all over the continent.
The park, with campuses in the capital city, Praia, and on the island of São Vicente, is on its way to becoming a model of climate resilience and renewable energy application as part of the project’s second phase. This phase also includes the formation of a public-private partnership for the creation of two data centres.
In a significant boost for African start-ups, the Cape Verde ICT hub will initiate a €1 million seed fund to invest in approximately 20 local innovative start-ups.
Moreover, it plans to extend integration grants of at least €5 000 each to over 50 technology start-ups from various African countries.
The project is also committed to human capital development and is planning collaborations with international universities and corporations to provide soft skills training. This initiative aims to prepare 300 African youths over the next three years to take advantage of job opportunities arising from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Cape Verde’s deputy prime minister and finance minister, Olavo Avelino Garcia Correia, has lauded the potential of the project, stating, “Our ambition is to transform Cape Verde into a digital nation, with a circulating economy and the Technology Park in Praia playing a critical role in this significant government strategy.”
Uyoyo Edosio, the AfDB’s project lead, emphasised the project’s capacity to enhance Cape Verde’s thriving tourism sector through its intersection with technology.
Adding to this, Dr Abdu Mukhtar, the AfDB’s director for industrial and trade development, stated, “Cape Verde offers the necessary infrastructure and a supportive political system for the next generation of African talents to realise their dreams and ambitions in their homeland.”