PHOTO: Dereje/

OFQ: Senegal’s economic growth has been strong in recent years – and agricultural progress has been a key driver. To what do you attribute this? AH: The economy has remained on a new growth trajectory, never seen in the past, placing Senegal among the fastest growing countries in sub- Saharan Africa. Indeed, the growth rate more than doubled during the first phase of the PSE implementation, from an annual average of 3.0 percent over the period 2009-2013 to 6.6 percent over the period 2014-2018. Growth was driven by consumption and transformative investment, but also by the strengthening of exports. Improved fiscal room for manoeuver,

through the reduction of the fiscal deficit, has enabled the government to better support

economic activity, and to cushion the effects of headwinds, (especially those related to the global environment). In the non-tradable goods sectors, we have mainly seen favorable developments in the construction and transport sectors, and improved energy supply. On the export side, the revival of traditional sectors (chemistry, fish products, tourism, etc.) combined with the boom in exports of horticultural products, have improved the economy. The Senegalese Agricultural Accelerator Program (Programme d’Accélération de la Cadence de l’Agriculture Sénégalaise, PRACAS), the first phase of which has just been completed, has supported agricultural production and increased yields. Rice, the main consumer product, has seen its production grow rapidly, bringing us closer to self-sufficiency.

OFQ: Where do you expect to see Senegal in five years from a development / poverty reduction perspective? AH: Looking ahead to 2020-2024, the average growth rate is projected at more than 8 percent in the context of oil and gas production from 2022. We anticipate a broadening of the sources for growth, with the development of the agricultural sector benefiting the agri-food industry. The ripple effects of oil and gas production will be felt on the financial sector and insurance sectors, among others. Rail transport will benefit from the entry into service of the first electric train in the sub- region and the restart of traffic in Mali. Tourism is expected to revive as new areas are developed. With average economic growth expected to exceed 8 percent over the medium-term, we expect to create at least 200,000 jobs a year and the Human Development Index (HDI) would rise from 0.51 in 2017 to 0.53 in 2023. The incidence of monetary poverty is expected to fall by more than 4 percentage points to 36.9% in 2023. To support the structural transformation of the economy, we will need to pursue structural reforms in education and vocational training. Social investments will be directed toward addressing people’s needs, including improving nutrition and health, promoting social housing, strengthening social protection for workers and reducing social and territorial inequalities.

The above is an edited version of an interview conducted by email.


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