Opinion Technology

The urgency to “catapult” São Tomé and Príncipe into the Digital Economy

There is an illusion that we are all connected, or at least we were when the pandemic was at its peak. It is a false sensation, the reality has proven and reinforced the awareness of the disparity of inequality that is not extinguished only in digital literacy but proliferates in frightening data, when the question is access to tools and digital technology.

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An impact felt in all areas, education for example, in many geographies was compromised with this fragility, visible also in our nation, from elementary school to university. Globally it is estimated that 1.2 billion students have not had access to the internet, a void that when it did not create difficulties, exposed the total exclusion that inhibited people from having the same digital opportunities. 

The education of a generation was compromised,but we continue to reinvent ourselves to raise the human capital that must be at the center of the digital transformation of any society, and we know that the impact of emerging technologies will assess the choices of our leaders today, in promoting the digital economy and in contributing to GDP. 

The digital transformation of the country is urgent, businesses must follow the pace, and perhaps be drivers of this movement that needs to emerge, beyond e-governance. We need to promote fast  adaptation with the help of the Y, Z and Alpha generations. Although, the prior knowledge in many sectors will follow a slower pace in this transformation,  it will be feasible since by 2025 those generations will represent  62% of the world market. 

The African Union assumes the urgency and highlights “the need for Africa to make digital socio-economic development a high priority” to stimulate inclusive and sustainable economic growth, digitalization will make the process dynamic, fast,  transparent and cheap. São Tomé and Príncipe must make it a priority to make this qualitative leap. 

We need a digital, innovative, cohesive and sustainable São Tomé e Príncipe, above all global, to face an Africa that has taken on advancing without barriers, creating free trade on a continental scale. 

The country has taken steps that I am proud as a national citizen, such as the process of computerization of the civil registry and notary office, as well as the contribution set out for a national strategy for digital governance in São Tomé e Príncipe. 

However, the slowness in the implementation of practical actions is worrisome, when we are dealing with a dynamic, cross-cutting process that demands from us permanent and continuous collaborative learning.

Some young from São Tomé  have been participating in this silent digital revolution in the country, such as the creation of online radio that is consumed via Web (Rádio Somos Todos Primos), development of e-commerce, e-commerce platforms such as and Sokeru and STP Vendas , Yale  that even present the local currency in their products, and other initiatives that I believe will blossom in the near future, such as the digital ‘dobra’. 

 In 2013 I questioned in a forum, “How much does the digital economy represent in the GDP of Sao Tome and Principe?“, in 2015 the citizen Karlley Frota questioned in the same forum “What is the expectation of the digital economy for businesses in Sao Tome and Principe” among other pertinent questions that we must continue to echo, but above all have answers, proposals and initiatives that must be aided truly, and not simply in empty and beautiful speeches. 

The new context dominated by the digital, should make us set our priorities, strategies, invest in infrastructure, mechanisms and skills to create value adapted to the new times, in all sectors. We need the digital economy to “catapult” our country into other types of dialogues, businesses, learning, and opportunities.  Above all, be useful to every citizen of the country and make us competitive. 

Sobre o Autor

Mário Lopes

Mário Lopes, promoter of youth policies, associativism, digital marketing, communication, literature and journalism! He combines daily all these multiple interests with the dream of seeing São Tomé and Príncipe developed.

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