Macky Sall, President of Senegal: Interview

Macky Sall, President of Senegal

Interview: Macky Sall

In what ways can Senegal act as a gateway to West Africa for international investors?

PRESIDENT MACKY SALL: Senegal is a stable country that offers many opportunities thanks to its geographical location. Economically, in 2015 Senegal was among the most dynamic countries, with real GDP growth of 6.5%. This performance is the result of the implementation of the Emerging Senegal Plan. This is part of the government’s efforts to bring Senegal to the rank of emerging economies by 2035. In this regard, concrete actions have been undertaken through the launch of structural projects, notably in agriculture, infrastructure, energy and housing.

The government’s ambition is to make Senegal a logistical and industrial hub, as well as a multi-service provider and tourist destination. An industrial platform dedicated to attracting companies with specific incentives is under construction in Diamniadio. In addition, there are export service zone projects, as well as Senegal Business Park, a place for regional headquarters and international institutions, which has the aim of creating economic value through housing, social services, cultural activities and leisure.

How can economic integration between Senegal and Morocco be strengthened?

SALL: Senegal and Morocco are two countries that have had historical ties for several decades. This relationship has allowed us to reinforce economic cooperation in recent years. This includes sectors such as agribusiness, fisheries, finance, industry, real estate and logistics. Real estate and finance are two sectors already witnessing dynamic levels of cooperation; now the two governments must pursue the same momentum for other priority sectors. Fortunately, our two countries have already established a financial sector (banking and insurance) that will help boost other sectors, as will the rolling out of credit lines to accelerate investment flows into priority projects.

How can the transfer of knowledge between both countries be encouraged?

SALL: In light of the very positive outcomes achieved, the cooperation between Senegal and Morocco in education and training deserves to be praised, especially with regard to the training of numerous Senegalese managers in the administrative and private sectors. Cooperation must be supported and oriented towards the priority sectors set by the government, where the availability of qualified labour does not match our economic ambitions.

To what extent can language and geography encourage the creation of an economic zone between West Africa and Morocco?

SALL: Economic development is one of the objectives of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF). Since the 1997 Hanoi Summit, which stressed the importance of economy alongside language, the OIF has been working towards the construction of a dynamic francophone economic zone, as evidenced by the participation of the private sector in international events dedicated to francophone countries.

Moreover, the OIF adopted an economic strategy during the Dakar summit in November 2014. Francophone countries account for 14% of the world’s population (900m people), 16% of global GDP ($7.2bn), 20% of global trade, 7% of economic growth per year and 14% of global mining and energy resources. In 2050, 85% of French-speaking people will be African.

In this respect, the geographical proximity of Morocco and West Africa is a major asset for the emergence of a favourable economic trade zone. Unlike West African economies, Morocco took advantage of this proximity through its growth in exports and investments, notably in the financial and real estate sectors. West African economies need to implement strategies to better penetrate Morocco, a country with a wealthy market of over 30m consumers.

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