Africa-Press – Cape verde. The end of construction of the São Vicente Data Center will only be the completion of the first stage – and perhaps the easiest – of the TechPark.CV project in Mindelo. Full profitability of the investment will depend on the ability to attract companies and make the equipment a place of creativity and innovation.
April is the new target for completing the works on the São Vicente Data Center. Last week, while passing through Mindelo, the Deputy Prime Minister was in space and set the goal. Olavo Correia, who in addition to Finance, also oversees the Digital Economy, points to 2025 as the year of “official opening”, but expects, in 2024, a “soft opening, more on a national level”.
The first stone was laid in February 2019 and, at the time, the work was expected to be completed in nine months, a deadline that was successively postponed.
In addition to data storage, the São Vicente Data Center will have areas to accommodate technology-based companies, with a special vocation for incubating start-ups. The facilities will also be prepared for training and events.
Carlos Monteiro, president of the board of directors of TechPark.CV, estimates that, once the construction company hands over ‘the keys’, it will be possible to start bringing the facilities to life.
“Immediately, in April, we will begin activities, including having companies, starting incubation and innovation programs”, he notes.
The PCA of the technology park does not doubt the ability to attract interested parties to São Vicente, where the work will develop in line with Praia.
“I believe that there will be companies from São Vicente, or even from Praia, that may want to set up shop in São Vicente. We, as TechPark, do not transfer companies, we receive companies”, he anticipates.
The São Vicente Data Center, built in the space of the former student residence, in Chã de Marinha, has capacity for around 20 companies.
Officially launched in March 2023, Vale.CV has been on the market for less than a year. The objective is to provide easy access to different experiences, through a network of partners. At the head of a technology-based company, Yannick Évora, founder of Vale.CV, has no doubt that TechPark is “a door of opportunities”.
“ When we talk about the market, we think that digital lives in a market that has no borders, that is, it is not just the Cape Verdean market, but an international market. So, to achieve all this globalization, technological and digital infrastructures are necessary, so that we can be prepared”, he analyzes.
Yannick Évora sees the São Vicente Data Center as a place for networking , but also a space for innovation and creativity.
“Having the possibility of being in a single space where I also have this entire community that works towards the development of the digital economy, this ecosystem, in other words, being able to add more value”, he says.
With a longer history, having already been operating in the area of information technology for four years, Chuva, founded by Nilson Nascimento, trusts in the potential of the TechPark and, specifically, the Data Center, but warns that the investment may be happening “ out of time.”
“We still haven’t been able to decipher what is really needed to move this ecosystem forward. We still have few start-ups. In fact, if we look at every start-up in the country, and the number of people it employs, we are not having a significant impact. It is, yes, a project with great ambition, but I think we have other more important aspects to resolve, for example, obtaining financing, hiring people”, he summarizes.
Nilson Nascimento wants the country to get used to “innovating, making mistakes, getting up and building on this”. He talks about a “mental evolution”, which helps to unlock processes, eliminating barriers.
“If not, we will never make it. Processes drag on in an industry with extremely high speed. We need to talk and understand how incentive systems are created, the import of materials through customs, to make it easier, how the State can take on a little more risk, understanding that it is an investment”, he declares.
The general director of Employment, Danilson Borges, confirms the need to invest in the training and qualification of the workforce.
“If we want to develop this sector, we need a critical mass, to be able to meet the market challenge. We are talking about an information technology market that is evolving rapidly. We are doing work that is the skills development plan. In other words, identifying the key profiles that the country must and intends to develop”, he comments.
The guardianship intends to identify all these key profiles in the 2026 and 2030 horizon, giving training schools and universities the possibility of training according to needs.
“Cape Verde wants to be a hub , a training hub , a hub that can train and provide a qualified workforce. We already have this reality, especially in the area of technology. We have several young Cape Verdeans who graduated here and work for foreign companies. On the other hand, we also have Cape Verdean companies that provide services to other countries”, he highlights.
The São Vicente Data Center is part of the larger technology park project – TechPark.CV – located in Praia, involving an investment of 53 million dollars.
The TechPark has two hubs, Praia and Mindelo, consisting of a data center, incubation center, business center, training and qualification center, conference center, in addition to contiguous technology real estate areas, called Castelon Vale , in Praia , and Julion Vale , in Mindelo.