Africa | January 8, 2020

Senegal’s Startup Act eases the way for entrepreneurs

Amy Cortese
ImpactAlpha Editor

Amy Cortese

ImpactAlpha, Jan. 8 – Entrepreneurship is critical to economic vitality, especially in Africa, where small and growing businesses are tackling challenges from financial inclusion to farming and food distribution for the continent’s growing middle class.

Yet regulatory and financial barriers stand in the way for many would-be entrepreneurs.

A number of African nations are now formalizing policies to support and encourage local entrepreneurs and promote the growth of digital technologies. The policies are being shaped by local entrepreneurial ecosystems and i4Policy, an African group that co-creates “bottom-up” policy. 

Removing barriers

Tunisia enacted its Tunisia Startup Act in 2018. In addition to creating a legal framework for startups, it exempts the new firms from corporate taxes for up to 8 years, allows public and private sector workers to take a year off to start a company with the right to return, and funds the salaries of up to three founders for the first year. 

Startup funding

The Senegal Startup Act, passed at the end of December, sets up a legal framework as well as incentives and a dedicated resource center. The law is part of its broader “Digital Senegal 2025” strategy outlined in 2016 to leverage digital technology and create jobs. The Senegalse government invested the equivalent of $2 million in 40 startups in November. 

More to come

Mali and Ghana are among the ten or so other African nations that are reportedly working on their own startup acts.