Q1: You have been the Executive Director of NOSI since 2017 [Operational Nucleus of the Information Society]. After more than three years in the role, could you tell us what the main milestones or goals achieved during this period were?
It has been an exciting experience to be able to integrate the NOSI Board of Directors team with the support of 170 employees, who are contributing to the digital transformation in Cabo Verde and Africa. NOSI has been focusing on its strategic resources by investing in the capacity building of employees through training and certification in the technologies used through its in-house academy: NOSIAKADEMIA.
The knowledge and experience of 20 years of EGOV’s promotion allowed the development and consolidation of the platform IGRPWeb for the creation of EGOV applications, the NOSiCloud self-service of facilities, IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, and the Data Exchange Platform allowing access to open API / web services data. WebLab is another initiative developed in partnership with the Ministry of Education, aimed at contributing to digital inclusion through ICT laboratories installed in all secondary schools in the country.
Q2: What kind of cooperation have you established with other African countries, and specifically with other Portuguese-speaking African countries [PALOP]?
In the framework of South-South cooperation, NOSI has been developing several EGOV projects for African and Portuguese-speaking countries, namely in the area of social security for Guinea Bissau and São Tomé and Príncipe, single window licensing solutions commercial and tourism services for Mozambique, and an integrated communication and EGOV system for Equatorial Guinea. We have also provided EGOV consultancy services for Burkina Faso. Several missions from various African countries have been hosted by our country on a study and training visit to learn about the Cabo Verdean experience of Electronic Governance.
In partnership with the ECOWAS countries [Economic Community of West African States] regarding the development and implementation of the digital strategy of the sub-African region, we are working with the Community of Portuguese Language Countries [CPLP] on the development and implementation of the countries’ digital strategy. Together with the countries of the African region, a regional initiative for the development and connection of a submarine and regional fibre optic cable was developed (cable Amilcar Cabral).
Within the framework of the existing Digital Strategy for the African region, Cabo Verde aims to become a digital and innovation platform, which will not only build products but also serve as a training and research centre for digital innovation in the ECOWAS region. The country’s strategy for the digital economy has the following three interlinked objectives: a connectivity hub, a training hub, and a service provision hub. The Technology Park, which has an estimated cost of around 40 million USD, is ongoing and includes the business, incubation, training centres and another data centre.
Q3: Cabo Verde is one of the 57 Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and is also one of the most developed and democratic countries in Africa. Could you tell us a little more about the current socioeconomic context of Cabo Verde?
The archipelago of Cabo Verde lies in the heart of the Atlantic, at the crossroads of three continents: Africa, Europe and the Americas. It is a land of sun, sea, mountains, of men and women worthy and resilient, with a rich, lively culture and diversified, mirrored in his music, which has as its queen the diva of bare feet: Cesária Évora. It is a democratic, peaceful, tolerant, and well-governed nation. In Africa, it is the freest and stable country politically, civilly, socially and economically. The country is currently middle-income, the economy is service-oriented accounting for 75% of the GDP. The robustness of tourism, remittances and the investment sector is supporting economic growth at around 4% GDP per year. The Democratic Rule of Law is a consolidated reality. The institutions are robust and work, providing credibility to the country. This had led to some of the results below:
Q4: As an archipelago with few natural resources and a mostly service-oriented economy, what were, in your opinion, the main initiatives undertaken by the country to help achieve its current digital status?
Electronic Governance in Cabo Verde has always been considered a strategic and fundamental pillar for the development of the country’s strategic and action plans. We are investing in the expansion of ICT services (EGOV1 and 2) to boost the level of provision of services online through the Citizen’s Portal. The applications developed so far are improving government interaction with citizens (G2C), improving internal government management (G2G), provide greater integration with partners and economic operators (G2B) and government officials (G2E).
Cabo Verde has a data centre with a high level of physical and logical security housing, state-owned data processing and storage facilities capable of providing services to companies, banks or other national and foreign entities. The focus is placed on broadband telecommunications infrastructures through links to international fibre-optic networks, such as Atlantis II and WACS. Ellalink is currently under construction, which is a subsea cable system on a transatlantic route serving Latin America and Europe through Cabo Verde.
Q5: In your opinion, what are the most significant trends in EGOV in the world over the next few years?
Today, considering an enlightened and engaged digital citizenship, one must be increasingly informed of both the adversities and advantages that the process of digital transformation brings to society. The increasing digitalisation of modern societies, the use of the internet, mobile devices and social networks, particularly by the newer generation, is a factual variable that is part of the tendency of societies and markets. Countries and governments must follow this tendency by bringing innovative EGOV solutions for the organisations and operation of public institutions, eyeing greater transparency and closeness in the relationship with the citizens and markets. Due to their advantages and opportunities, emerging technologies, such as Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Data Analysis, Artificial Intelligence (AI) should be increasingly appropriate as innovative EGOV solutions for the improvement of the quality of online services and e-Participation.
*The views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the UNU.