Senegal to pass Startup Act into law this December


The Senegal Startup Act which has been passed by the country’s cabinet is set to go before the national assembly this month in order to be passed into law. 

According to an original post by Disrupt Africa, more than 60 key players in the Senegalese innovation ecosystem came together to draft a startup act at the i4policy hackathon in Dakar as of August in 2018.

In July 2019, i4policy organized the Dakar Policy Hack to accelerate the drafting of the first Senegal Startup Act. Under the leadership of i4policy, and with the support of numerous partners including the DER (Délégation à l’Entrepreunariat Rapide), World Bank, the African Development Bank, OSIWA and the French Embassy of Senegal, Impact Dakar hosted the Dakar Policy Hack on July 19th to facilitate the drafting of the very first Senegal Start-Up Act.
The bill, which was considered and adopted by President Macky Sall’s Council of Ministers is fixed to go before the National Assembly this month. If passed, it would make Senegal the second African country to pass such an Act, after Tunisia.

The Senegal Startup Act contains laws to guide business operations in the country. The act will supposedly promote innovation and entrepreneurship, and encourage data collection and sharing amongst entrepreneurs. This will help them to develop better business plans as well as look into tax policies, startup financing, and labeling. 
The Senegal Startup Act contains a number of proposals that strive to promote innovation and entrepreneurship. It incorporates areas such as tax policies, startup financing, startup labeling, and the promotion of data collection and sharing to enable entrepreneurs to develop better business plans.
Unquestionably, if the National Assembly passes the Startup Act into law, the country will not only be a more enabling environment for startups but will also provide more room to grow and innovate.
 According to Jon Stever, co-founder and managing director of impact hub Kigali and catalyst at i4policy, the question in the years to come will be based on the number of countries that still do not have the Startup Acts. he says a request has been made by Smart Africa’s board to the Tunisian government to package and share learnings from their Startup Act.
According to Stever, governments are increasingly recognizing that "entrepreneurs are the experts in entrepreneurship", and can contribute to public policy conversations if they are allowed. Before this, startups, if addressed at all in legislation, were addressed through SME-focused laws.

The first specific startup law was passed in Italy in 2012 and Africa is catching on very fast. A host of countries, with Mali at an advanced stage, are working towards the startup acts and Stever has mentioned that at least 10 African ecosystems will be working on putting the laws together.
According to Wee Tracker, African countries are beginning to follow in the footsteps of Tunisia and Senegal, who pioneered the Startup Act in Africa. African countries like Mali and Ghana are working to create a startup act aimed at creating a favorable environment for young entrepreneurs.
With countries in Africa increasingly joining the rest of the world to create enabling business environments for startups, In April of this year, the government of Mali also drafted a document to allow stakeholders to analyze the policies that will make up the country’s first Startup Act.
This was made known by Mali’s minister of the digital economy and communication, Arouna Modibo Touré at an inaugural Francophone Africa Early Stage Investor Summit (FAIS) in Bamako.
Also, i4Policy is also assisting the growth of a Ghanian Startup Act. The impressive nature of President Paul Kagame’s administration, and the fact that a catalyst at i4Policy, Jon Stever, is also the co-founder and managing director of Impact Hub Kigali, means that it won’t be long before Rwanda gets in on the act as well.

Startup Act would really help a lot of assuring startups in these countries as startups have often to manage on their own while finding their way around obstacles set up by the government themselves.

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