Presidential elections in Senegal: five candidates, five economic programs

The election campaign started off in Senegal. Five candidates selected according to a system of sponsorship introduced for the first time will solicit the suffrage of Senegalese during a first round scheduled on February 24, 2019. Financial Afrik has spent their economic programs comb through. In a Sahelian country where 44 per cent of the population is under the age of 15, the quality of any vision should be based on its ability to create employment and cope with the challenges of climate change. We believe that the currency issue is no more important than the deepening of West African economic integration, the UEMOA, an extraordinary framework and unique opportunity for Senegalese companies to evolve towards ECOWAS.

Macky Sall: emergence through infrastructure
With an average growth of 6% during his first term, outgoing President Macky Sall plans to move to Phase II of his Emerging Senegal Plan (PSE) upon his re-election.

This Keynesianist program is based on the revival by public expenditure and, especially, the major works, the construction being one of the effective sectors of absorption of unskilled labor, and Agriculture. But for the PES to be anchored in the long term, after a first phase marked by a sharp increase in agricultural production and investments in road infrastructure, it will have to move to a second phase, that of the transformation, the export of competitive products and services.

If re-elected, Macky Sall will continue his infrastructure investment program in a realistic spirit of consensus and partnership with domestic and international investors. As a reminder, 14,000 billion CFA francs were mobilized in Paris at the end of December for the Priority Actions Program (PAP) to cover the period 2019-2023. The PAP includes some 700 projects whose “prioritization was made on the basis of 11 criteria”, according to a presentation made in Paris by the Minister of Economy, Finance and Planning, Amadou Ba, during the Consultative Group. It is particularly expected from the implementation of this program, an economic growth of 9, 1% in 2023.

The new city of Diamniadio, equidistant from the triangle Dakar, Mbour, Thies is called to play the role of a locomotive logistics and technology of the country. Over the period 2019-2023, a new floor will be added to the rocket. This is the financial district of Diamniadio, recently launched with the claim to become a financial hub in West Africa.

At the social level, the president will intensify the family scholarship program. During its first mandate, some 330,000 families were enrolées by this program of 100,000 CFA francs annual which aims at the economic and social inclusion of the most deprived. Senegal, which doubled its installed energy capacity between 2013 and 2018 and accelerated its motorway program with the Dakar-Mbour-Thès and Ila-Touba highways, did not forget the social network during this first septenate. Free health care for children under 5 years old and the elderly, universal health coverage (CMU) implemented since 2012 and which allows, at an annual fee of 3,500 Francs CFA (about 5 euros), the assumption of responsibility for 80% of healthcare services and medical procedures in public health facilities, the vision of Macky Sall, which is based on impetus by public investment and major infrastructure, has not left out the social. More than 800 km of production tracks have been built since the launch of the project in 2015. It remains to make more room for the local private sector in full transformation.

Ousmane Sonko, the exit of the CFA Franc
New political figure of Senegal, Ousmane Sonko advocates economic nationalism, the finger pointing to the West and, especially, France, the latter being accused of grabbing African raw materials without foreign exchange. If elected, the candidate of Pastef-Les Patriotes, promised last September to initiate a process of exit from the CFA Franc. Over the weeks and, certainly, consultations with experts, the position of the slayer system seems to have evolved.

On this subject, the former Tax Inspector no longer advocates to leave the CFA Franc but to leave France. Similarly, the abandonment of the CFA Franc will no longer be unilateral but preceded by consultation with other member countries. If the process has changed, the diagnosis has remained the same. Ousmane Sonko estimates that the exchange rate of the common currency of the 8 WAEMU countries is overvalued.

Another measure announced by the candidate Sonko, the revision of mining and oil contracts. The option already tested in Senegal (case of Arcelor Mittal and Kumba Mining) had been completed before the International Arbitral Tribunal (ICSID). Conditioned by his curriculum and practical experience as a tax official, Ousmane Sonko gives much of his economic speech tax incentives he does not seem to encourage (We lose more than $ 500 billion a year with tax exemptions, was alarmed in March 2018 during an interview with TV 2STV) and the increase in the tax burden to 20%, three points above the convergence criterion of the West African Economic Monetary Union (UEMOA).

Following this process, the Pastef candidate intends to mobilize 600 billion FCFA francs per year. This view of resource mobilization by the fiscal army does not seem to take into account the impact that this collection would have on businesses and the national private sector. Clearly, the candidate Sonko seems to favor the collection of tax resources, including in the informal.

On the other hand, the leader of the Pastef develops few arguments on the revival of the production, the competitiveness and the attractiveness of the territory Senegal in a context of strong competition between the countries to attract FDI and the manna of the tourism industry and trips. The fact remains that the vision of a deconcentrated state with a central level and 6 regional levels combined with the revitalization of local authorities by means of local taxation is an alternative to the centralized state. The real breakthrough advocated by Sonko certainly lies in his vision of funding religious powers. The leader of the Pastef account inject transparency by passing this delicate file by the National Assembly.

Idrissa Seck, Senegal first
Former prime minister of President Abdoulaye Wade, Idrissa Seck is running for the third time with a vision (number 1-3-15-45) that can be summed up in three words: governance, economy and security. For this economist trained at Princeton and the Sorbonne, the economy requires universal access to electricity by 2029, when the energy mix of Senegal will be 30% renewable energy. The other main axis of the candidate Idrissa Seck is education. A higher education council will be created as soon as it takes office. If elected, the private sector will be eligible for tax exemption or amnesty, the time to upgrade. Digital companies will have the right to own taxation.

Foreign investors, subject to a set of specifications, will have to reinvest a portion of the dividends acquired in Senegal. In the eyes of Idrissa Seck, it would require a renegotiation of fishing agreements with Mauritania to allow Senegalese fishermen operating in Mauritanian waters to land their catch in Senegal. The Rewmi candidate does not hide his admiration for Donald Trump, whose noisy slogan “America First” inspired his “Senegal first”. And certainly his intention to raise pensions for veterans and war-wounded. Some observers have found similarities between the economic visions of Ousmane Sonko and Idrissa Seck, notably on the issue of transfers of resources to local communities and the building of regional hubs. On the question of money, Idrissa Seck promises to keep the CFA Franc while working for the realization of the single currency of ECOWAS. The Rewmi candidate plans to rationalize state resources by eliminating unnecessary agencies.

Madické Niang, the reformer
Former Minister of State, Minister of Justice and Minister of Justice from 2007 to 2009, Madické Niang is not the most novice of the candidates in the running. In his program, the PDS candidate proposes 19 emergency measures hoping and 28 flagship measures. The training lawyer wants to significantly reduce the cost of living and, especially, renegotiate oil and gas contracts. Other emergency measures include the diagnosis of Universal Health Cover (CMU).

In another part, Madické Niang proposes to open negotiations with France for the registration of Senegalese students. Under his magisterium, the domestic debt will be “immediately” settled to companies. The administration will see the generalization of the call for applications for the duties of Director General, incompatible with the policy. As part of the reduction in the lifestyle of the state, the one who claims to stand in for the absence of Karim Wade, commits, once elected, to remove the Economic and Social Economic Council (CESE), the High Council of Local Authorities (HCCT) and the National Commission for Territorial Dialogue (CNDT). Going further than Sonko and Idrissa Seck, he promises (without explaining how) to allocate between 500 million and 1.5 billion to local authorities, with a special allowance for some large urban communes. Once elected, Madické Niang undertakes to create a ministry in charge of Religious Affairs attached to the presidency.

El Haj Issa Sall, the “Pur 100”
He wants to make imperative English and computer science since kindergarten. Issa Sall is certainly the most unexpected of the five candidates in the running. The colt of the Unity and Rally Party (Pur) defends a “Pur 100” program that places man at the beginning, center and end of all. Its electoral network, made up of Koranic schools (Dahiras) and militants “Moustarchidines”, a branch of the Sufi Muslim brotherhood of the Tidjanes “, foreshadowed a program focused on religion and the return to values. Far from all this, the green candidate insists on the education and inclusion of Koranic schools in the education system to combat the phenomenon of street children. Among the six pillars of its economic program is a pact with the national private sector. The founder of the University of the Sahel also wants to make the water resource a priority for agricultural development and, among other things, to consolidate, develop and encourage the practice of forage crops taking into account the specificities of the different agro-ecological zones. The Pur candidate wants to introduce a system of incentive tax patriotism by broadening the tax base and encouraging domestic savings. Proposing the consolidation of the financial potential of the diaspora to make it a lever of development, Issa Sall should certainly explain how he intends to do to fund his program.


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