Foreign

April 10, 2024

Senegal’s new president orders major economic ‘action plan’

Senegal’s new president orders major economic ‘action plan’

Bassirou Diomaye Faye speaks after being sworn in as Senegal’s President at an exhibition centre in the new town of Diamniadio near the capital Dakar on April 2, 2024. – Bassirou Diomaye Faye was sworn in on April 2, 2024 as Senegal’s youngest president after sweeping to a first-round victory on a pledge of radical reform 10 days after he was released from prison. (Photo by John WESSELS / AFP)

Senegalese President Bassirou Diomaye Faye on Tuesday ordered his prime minister to draw up an urgent “action plan” to strengthen the country’s flagging economy and finances, his office said in a statement.

The 44-year-old swept to victory in an election last month on a promise of radical reform, becoming the country’s youngest president despite never having held elected office.

On Tuesday he gave his prime minister and former mentor Ousmane Sonko until the end of the month to draw up an “action plan”, said the statement, released after Faye’s first cabinet meeting.

He ordered Sonko to “carry out a general review of programmes and plans” and report on “the general situation of the public finances”, international cooperation and public-private partnerships, it said.

He ordered the government to finalise the plan by the end of the month and to implement “without delay, with the (Senegalese) private sector, a bold policy to relaunch the national economy”.

He told ministers he had been elected to ensure a “profound breakaway” and a “transformation at all levels of economic and social life” in the country.

One person in three of Senegal’s 18 million-strong population lives in poverty and the unemployment rate is around 20 percent.

Its economy has also suffered from the Covid pandemic and the effects of the Ukraine war.

Debt and inflation are running high while the past three years of social and political tension have dented investment.

Unveiling his cabinet on Friday, Sonko said the government’s priorities would include employment for young people, lowering the cost of living and protecting human rights.