Senegal to seek $6.1 billion from donors to fast-track growth

by Reuters
Monday, 3 February 2014 16:29 GMT

* Government targets doubling economic growth

* Senegal enjoys political stability but needs jobs

By Diadie Ba

DAKAR, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Senegal will seek just over $6 billion in financing at a donor conference this month to kick-start a development plan aimed at doubling economic growth rates over the next decade.

Senegal is one of West Africa's most stable democracies and President Macky Sall has been praised for his anti-corruption measures since winning office in 2012. But his government is under pressure to create more jobs and diversify the economy.

A plan, due to be presented at a Feb. 24-25 gathering of private and public sector institutions in Paris, will request 2.97 trillion CFA francs ($6.10 billion) to help finance development over the next four years.

The plan aims to boost output from agriculture, fisheries and agro-industry, as well as the mining sector and tourism. The government also hopes to make Senegal a logistics hub offering a to West Africa's market of some 300 million people.

Authorities say a 10-year "Emerging Senegal" plan will cost just over $21 billion and will target doubling economic growth, currently at 4.6 percent.

Unlike most nations in the region, Senegal has never seen a coup. Power has changed hands several times during mostly peaceful elections.

Sall has made fighting corruption a priority, a drive that has left about a dozen senior figures from his predecessor's administration in prison.

However, Senegal's bulging young population is clamouring for jobs at a time when Dakar's position as West Africa's francophone hub is being rivalled by the post-war recovery of Ivory Coast, the region's economic heavyweight. ($1 = 486.4160 CFA francs) (Editing by David Lewis)

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