You are here

  The National Cloud of Senegal Sovereignty or digital heteronomy?
The National Cloud of Senegal Sovereignty or digital heteronomy?
Wack Ndiaye

Technical Coordinator of Senegal Numerique SA

At first glance, to better illustrate my points, I would like to return to the definitions of classic cloud (private/Public) and national cloud which are very often confused.

A “national cloud” refers to an IT infrastructure deployed by a country on a national scale, managed and controlled by its government to provide cloud services on demand, anytime, anywhere and from any medium safely. Thus, the national cloud promotes the modernization and interoperability of Information Systems for both the public and the private sector to present a more coherent image of its national ecosystem. The data will be accessible remotely in accordance with an architectural framework which will be imposed on all public/private actors in order to allow them to have information systems on demand, ready to use and accessible by authorization at all times, in anywhere, securely and from any device.

Unlike the National Cloud, the public Cloud directs IT towards use to the detriment of ownership. It offers computing resources, provided by private companies on a global scale, which can be accessed through the Internet


Therefore, our state's desire to set up a national cloud is very beneficial. However, the approach forces actors in the national ecosystem to question the why, the how and the when?


A national cloud: why, how and when?

A national cloud is a very serious and complicated matter bringing together many dimensions that must absolutely be taken into account, like digitally sovereign countries such as China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, etc.

 It is true that the opportunities offered by the cloud on a technological level are numerous and important, in particular: flexibility, agility and accessibility of data with the addition or removal of IT resources with a simple click as well as the mobility of employees at any time, from any medium, via a secure internet connection. However, it is also important to understand the challenges of the national Cloud in addition to technological aspects, particularly on the legal, economic, and governance levels as well as the geopolitical tensions which crystallize around the emergence of new threats linked to cyberspace, cybernetics , cybersecurity, cybercrime, cyberwar, cyberattack, cyberdefense, cyberespionage, cyberactivism (manipulation), very often linked to acts of vandalism, political conflicts, economic warfare, intelligence or policy of diplomatic and cultural influence…

Suffice it to say that before embarking on such very expensive and sensitive projects, it is important to carry out a serious examination of collective and inclusive reflection to take on board technical offers from large foreign firms which are subject to laws and legislation. foreign such as:


  • the American Cloud Act which is an American federal law allowing American law enforcement or intelligence agencies to obtain information stored on their servers from telecom operators and Cloud service providers. Whether such data is located in the United States or abroad;


  • China's PRC Intelligence Law in 2017 making it "obligatory for Chinese citizens to support national intelligence work" intended to enforce, espionage by any Chinese structure or citizen.


To this end, Africa must emerge from its dwarf state. Where for Europe the fight seems poorly underway despite its general data protection regulation (GDPR) which constitutes the reference text for the protection of personal data. Africa still has all the cards in hand to develop its own environment. In 2014, members of the African Union (AU) adopted the African Union Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection but unfortunately many countries are not actually aligned with the guidelines of this convention.


The national Cloud must make it possible to free ourselves from the domination of GAFAM, BATX and NATU



In Senegal, to confirm its desire to set up a national cloud, the State must, via a presidential decree, create a national consultation and ideation framework common to all public and private stakeholders to first establish a climate of dialogue between the main actors and then define the related national strategy validated by all actors in the ecosystem. This strategy must absolutely take into account the technological, legal, economic, geopolitical, cyberspace and governance dimensions so that the country gains in interoperability, rationalization of infrastructure, transparency, reduction of costs in compliance with the law on protection. personal data.

Furthermore, it is clear the overwhelming domination of the American, Chinese and now Russian Clouds on the African continent. Which should push us to question the economic, social and environmental consequences of this hegemony as well as its political impact.


Therefore, the national Cloud must also allow our country to free itself from the model of domination of the American GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft – GAFAM) and Chinese BATX (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, Xiaomides and NATU) platforms. (Netflix, Airbnb, Tesla and Uber…) by creating its own Clouds and national digital platforms in order to control the evolution of uses and practices leading to the proliferation and transfer of large volumes of metadata to foreign platforms.


At the same time, the State must also put in place the necessary conditions and impose the creation of a single national data repository allowing the unification of public action information systems and the coherence of management systems. sectoral information so that the State and the private sector gain in interoperability, rationalization of infrastructures and transparency and reduction of costs. This will allow them to create new business opportunities as well as new services while respecting our laws on the protection of personal data and our fundamental values ​​such as respect for privacy.


Finally, the digital sovereignty of a democratic state is the unhindered expression on its territory of the collective will of its citizens. The people determine and make their choices for themselves, without subordination or dependence on a foreign authority. A modern state is the embodiment of its autonomy and independence. It is the ultimate guarantor of the rights and freedom of its citizens.


Consequently, the State must therefore highlight the need to defend a policy of national sovereignty in order to coordinate our actions in terms of governance of the ecosystem, production, circulation and exploitation of data while respecting our laws and regulations on the protection of personal data. It must also regulate digital platforms in the areas of competition, taxation, distribution of images and videos, portability and data collection...



Ambitions may seem strong but achievable.

 Yes to funding and no to funding geared towards digital heteronomy.

December 20 2023

Subscribe to our newsletter