Senegal (Vol 11, 2014)

in Africa Yearbook Online
Emmanuelle Bouilly
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Marie Brossier
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(4,837 words)

At the midpoint of his first term, President Macky Sall went through a difficult time. The few achievements in the socio-economic field (falls in the price of staple foods and the cost of rent, the overfunding of the ‘Plan Sénégal Émergent’ (pse), and the revival of the peace process in Casamance) did not compensate for the disruptive return of former president Wade, the controversies over the trial of Wade’s son, rumours of nepotism in the presidential entourage, divisions within the presidential coalition, and growing social unrest.

See also Senegal 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022.

Contents Volume 11, 2014.

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At the midpoint of his first term, President Macky Sall went through a difficult time. The few achievements in the socio-economic field (falls in the price of staple foods and the cost of rent, the overfunding of the ‘Plan Sénégal Émergent’ (pse), and the revival of the peace process in Casamance) did not compensate for the disruptive return of former president Wade, the controversies over the trial of Wade’s son, rumours of nepotism in the presidential entourage, divisions within the presidential coalition, and growing social unrest.

Domestic Politics

The trial of Karim Wade, son of the former president and ex-minister, before the ‘Cour pour la Répression de l’Enrichissement Illicite’ (crei) dominated the political scene. Wade’s lawyers contested the crei’s constitutionality and challenged the decisions of its investigation commission. They argued that the crei did not have jurisdiction to prosecute a former minister as this was the prerogative of the High Court of Justice. Accordingly, Wade’s lawyers filed several motions to terminate the trial before the Dakar Appeal Court, which on 21 January declared itself incompetent to judge the case. On 6 February, the Supreme Court granted Wade’s request and referred the matter to the Constitutional Council. On 5 March, the Constitutional Council ruled that the laws prohibiting illicit enrichment and governing the crei were consistent with the Constitution. On 7 March, human rights organisations such as the ‘Ligue Sénégalaise des Droits de l’Homme’, ai Sénégal and the ‘Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme’ alleged that Wade’s detention was irregular and not in compliance with the international conventions ratified by Senegal.

After two years in France, former president Abdoulaye Wade returned to Senegal on 23 April. The Senegalese authorities banned the welcome meeting organised by his party, the ‘Parti Démocratique Sénégalais’ (pds), at Place de l’Obélisque. By 28 May, Abdoulaye Wade still had not set foot in Rebeuss prison, where his son was in detention, although his wife Viviane Wade had been visiting him there on a regular basis. On 12 June, pds members demonstrated outside the crei asking for permission to visit Karim Wade in prison. Several pds officials including the party’s national coordinator, Oumar Sarr, were arrested. On 17 June, the financial prosecutor in Paris decided to drop the corruption file lodged by the Senegalese government against Karim Wade in 2012. In Senegal, his trial opened on 31 July. The prosecution objected to the presence of former ministers (Souleymane Ndéné Ndiaye, Amadou Sall, Alioune Badara Cissé) on his defence team. On 5 August, the defence counsels challenged the crei’s jurisdiction but, on 18 August, the crei was declared competent to judge Karim Wade and his co-defendants. Two days later, his lawyers filed an appeal in the Court of Cassation. On 23 August, the authorities banned a demonstration planned by the pds and, on 7 May, ai expressed its concern that a significant number of demonstrations had been banned.

The trial resumed on 1 September with the appearance of Bibo Bourgi, one of Karim Wade’s alleged accomplices. The prosecution of the seriously ill Bourgi raised controversy. On 12 November, Alioune Ndao, the crei special prosecutor in charge of the Wade case, was dismissed by President Sall. Cheikh Tidiane Mara took over his position. According to some commentators, Ndao’s mismanagement of Bourgi’s medical record explained Sall’s decision. The crei waited until December to grant Bourgi permission to leave Senegal to seek medical care in France, even though the Ministry of Justice had requested this on 1 October. Karim Wade’s trial was suspended and started again on 1 December, immediately after the end of the 15th oif Summit, held in Dakar. On 21 November, Sall had banned a demonstration organised by the pds and its allies in support of Karim Wade in order not to disrupt the Summit but, confronted with the risk of national unrest, he eventually allowed the demonstration. On 29 December, the crei rejected a request for Wade’s provisional release on the grounds that it was likely to disturb public order. On the margins of the trial proceedings and debates on the crei’s jurisdiction, the justice system was reformed. On 27 October, regional and departmental courts became ‘Tribunaux de grandes instances et d’instances’, and new criminal chambers were created.

In addition to Wade, other prominent pds members were indicted on corruption charges. On 27 April, former Senator Aïda Ndiongue and Abdul Aziz Diop, former chief of staff of Senegal’s minister of housing and urban development, were officially accused of illicit enrichment to the tune of CFAfr 47 bn. Both had been in pre-trial detention since December 2013. They were alleged to have misappropriated funds from the ‘Plan Jaxaay’, a government programme meant for the construction of social housing and slums-upgrade. Ndiongue appeared before the judges on 11 June, but the trial was postponed several times. On 11 February, Farba Senghor, once special adviser to former president Wade and former minister in charge of pds propaganda, was summoned by the ‘Division des Investigations Criminelles’. On 11 August, after the expiry of the notice, the mayor of Ziguinchor, Abdoulaye Baldé, also appeared before the crei. His assets were seized on 24 December.

Sall’s 2012 election promises to raise moral standards in the political arena led to the establishment of the ‘Office National de Lutte contre la Fraude et la Corruption’ on 3 January. The government also passed a law on the declaration of assets on 20 March. On 13 February, the ‘Commission Nationale de Réforme des Institutions’ (cnri) chaired by Amadou Mahtar Mbow presented a preliminary proposal for a new constitution. Proposals included the reduction of the presidential term from seven to five years (renewable only once), a prohibition on the merging of the functions of president and political party leader, and the imposition of an age limit of 70 years for presidential candidates.

The press highlighted the existence of a ‘Faye-Sall’ dynasty that facilitated access to positions of power for members of their families (Aliou Sall, Mansour Faye, Adama Faye, Abdoulaye Thimbo), including high-level positions within the presidential party, the ‘Alliance Pour la République’ (apr) in the run-up to the June local elections. On 20 July, First Lady Marième Faye and her foundation ‘Servir le Sénégal’ were reported to the crei prosecutor over allegations that it had enriched the individuals in charge of the organisation. The ‘Association des Jeunes Marabouts Citoyens’ accused Faye of having received a CFAfr 650 m donation from the ‘Banque Marocaine du Commerce Extérieur’ in order to finance a modern ‘Daara’ (Qur’anic school). The interference of the first lady in the Senegalese political arena was strongly criticised when ministers such as Mbagnick Ndiaye (minister of culture) confirmed that they owed her their position.

The adoption of the ‘Code Général des Collectivités Locales’ marked the beginning of the 3rd Act of the decentralisation reform programme for better governance and an efficient ‘territorialisation’ of public policies. The law attracted a lot of criticism. Mayors, including Dakar’s Mayor Khalifa Sall (‘Parti Socialiste’ [ps]), saw it as a government strategy to reduce their power as it meant they would lose resources and competencies. On 20 January, a technical committee representing all political stakeholders (the ‘G50’) was established to review the electoral code. The committee struggled to decide on the voting system for local elections. The government called for a majority rule process but the opposition argued in favour of the existing proportional representation voting system. On 7 April, the new electoral code was finally adopted as part of an emergency procedure privileged by Sall in order to keep to the electoral calendar. The lists remained controversial. On 7 April, the apr National Secretariat expressly forbade any alliance with opposition parties, while, on 17 April, people such as lawyer Mame Adama Gueye heavily criticised the exclusion by the electoral law of independent candidates ahead of the local elections.

The pre-electoral period and the election campaign (which officially began on 16 June) were marked by violence (stone throwing, fights between activists of different parties) and resulted in nearly 40 people being injured. More than 2,700 electoral lists competed with each other, which indicated differences within the governmental coalition ‘Benno Bokk Yaakar’ (United in Hope) between the apr and the ps. For some, this was a sign that the coalition was disintegrating. At the local elections on 29 June, the apr lost many cities including Ziguinchor and Dakar, where the incumbent mayor Khalifa Sall defeated Prime Minister Aminata Touré. However, the ruling party took cities such as Fatick, Linguere, Kaolack and St Louis, sometimes amid controversy (as in the case of the victory of Mansour Faye, President Sall’s brother). Following the disappointing results, President Sall fired Prime Minister Touré on 4 July, and appointed Mahammed Dionne (previously responsible for monitoring the pse) on 6 July. A new government of 40 ministers was formed. While Sall wanted to investigate the losing candidates, the press reported on 8 August that numerous former ministers (including Mor Ngom, Benoit Sambou, Abdou Aziz Mbaye) had been appointed as personal presidential advisers. During his 11 November policy speech before the National Assembly, Prime Minister Dionne insisted on the implementation of the pse, which the government had launched on 1 January. The pse incorporated elements of the ‘Yoonu Yokute’ and the Economic and Social Development Strategy and focused on three main objectives: restructuring of the economic production infrastructure, improvement of the quality of human resources, and good governance. The government said it wanted to reach these objectives by 2035.

The local elections in June offered political parties the opportunity to reorganise. In late September, Sall changed strategy and moved closer to the leaders of ‘Benno Bokk Yaakar’ coalition and ‘Macky2012’. On 19 September, he rejected the cnri’s draft constitution, which proposed a major institutional reform of the parliamentary system. Nevertheless, Mbow (chair of the cnri) requested Sall’s resignation as head of the apr on 18 September arguing that the presidency and leadership of the ruling party could not be merged. On 20 October, Sall announced that a referendum on the reduction of the presidential term would be held in 2016. The ps held its 15th Congress on 6–7 June in Dakar. Ousmane Tanor Dieng, supported by the mayor of Dakar, was re-elected as the party’s secretary general with 95% of the votes. His opponent, Aïssata Tall Sall, withdrew her candidacy and refused to recognise the result of the election. She announced her intention to run in the 2017 presidential election. Inside the pds, the lack of a party congress exacerbated tension in July. A number of pds candidates for the presidential election in 2017 were announced, including Souleymane Ndéné Ndiaye, who had served as prime minister under former president Wade. On 28 December, the pds announced that its congress would be held in July 2015, when a new secretary general would be elected. Within the ‘Rewmi’ party, its leader Idrissa Seck reshuffled his national secretariat on 4 September, and Déthié Fall became the party’s vice president.

After his return to Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade renewed his relationship with several religious leaders. In April, he visited the religious leaders of the holy cities of Touba and Tivaouane and met with the head of the Catholic Church, Cardinal Theodore Adrien Sarr. On 25 August, the General Caliph of the Mourides, Serigne Cheikh Sidy Mokhtar, sent his son to play a mediating role and calm pds militants who wanted to defy the ban on demonstrations at the Place de l’Obélisque. When visiting Serigne Cheikh Sidy Mokhtar in Dakar, President Sall was booed by the caliph’s disciples. On 15 September, Sall promised to complete the work begun by Wade in Touba and to modernise the city. On 4 December, a crowd of Mourides responded to Mokhtar’s order to welcome Sall in Touba but, two days later, Wade was warmly received there without any formal instruction (‘ndiggel’ in Wolof) by the caliph. On the Christian side, Cardinal Theodore Adrien Sarr left his post as Archbishop of Dakar and was replaced by Bishop of Kaolack Benjamin Ndiaye on 22 December.

Significant progress was made with regard to the continuing separatist conflict in the south-western Casamance region. On 4 January, in Guinea-Bissau, the warlords César Atoute Badiate and Ibrahima Compasse Diatta met to reconcile the two opposing factions of Senegal’s main separatist movement, the ‘Mouvement des Forces Démocratiques de Casamance’ (mfdc) and to prepare for negotiations with the Senegalese authorities. Sall’s visit to Ziguinchor on 17 March launched the Casamance Development Pole Project, which envisaged an investment of. over CFAfr 20 bn in the revitalisation of the local economy. Sall spoke of “reconciliation, reconstruction and sustainable development” and offered peace negotiations. On 28 April, Salif Sadio, the rebel leader of the most radical faction of the mfdc and the preferred partner of the Catholic Sant’Egidio Community (based in Rome) in the peace process in Casamance, announced a unilateral ceasefire on the radio. This was perceived as a sign of goodwill, following negotiations through Sant’Egidio on 22 February. However, Sadio refused to engage with the faction led by César Atoute Badiate. On 3 June, Cardinal Sarr met a delegation of mfdc fighters, close to Badiate. Further negotiations were conducted in Rome in mid-July between representatives of the government and the mfdc. On 24 November, after clashes between rebels, the interior minister of Guinea-Bissau urged the mfdc to leave Guinea-Bissau within 72 hours. The publication on 18 July of Colonel Abdul Aziz Ndaw’s book ‘Pour l’honneur de la gendarmerie sénégalaise’, in which he accused the former head of the gendarmerie (General Abdoulaye Fall) of nepotism and complicity with the mfdc, led to a major controversy and Fall had to resign as Senegal’s ambassador to Portugal on 3 August. Ndaw was summoned to appear before the High Command of the Gendarmerie on 10 August. He left his position as Senegal’s military attaché in Rome, and was detained for 60 days on 13 August.

Foreign Affairs

Senegal kept its high profile in the region. As the head of the facilitation group carrying on the negotiations between ecowas and the eu on epas, Sall achieved a minimal compromise on 7 February, and reached an agreement on 10 July. He attended several regional and international meetings: the nepad conference in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) on 29 January, where he launched the AfDB’s Africa 50 Fund; the 22nd Ordinary Session of the au in Addis Ababa on 30–31 January; and the us-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington on 3–6 August, where he met President Obama for the third time. Senegal also hosted major events: nepad’s Financing Summit for Africa’s Infrastructure in Dakar on 14–15 June, the 15th oif Summit on 29–30 November, and its first Economic Forum on 1 December.

February was a particularly important month. On 12–13 February, European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs launched in Dakar the 11th European Development Fund of € 347 million for 2014–20. After the Chinese minister of foreign affairs signed a memorandum of understanding on diplomatic and political issues on 11–13 January in Dakar, President Sall visited China on 19–22 February. He was accompanied by a major delegation including seven members of the government, five employer representatives, two union leaders, and numerous businessmen. He met Chinese President Xi Jiping and Prime Minister Li Kepiang, whom he praised for China’s worldwide economic success and its non-alignment policy. The two states signed five economic cooperation agreements on the construction of the Thiès-Touba highway, Sine Saloum University and the ‘Cité du Savoir’. China was also funding joint ventures in agriculture and automobile assembly plants, and the development of industrial parks for the relocation of Chinese firms in Senegal. Discussions were held on the possibility of upgrading the Dakar-Bamako railway and building a new national wrestling arena. China was committed to exempting Senegalese diplomatic and service passport holders from visa requirements, and to listing Senegal as an authorised tourist destination. After visiting China, Sall flew to France to meet with the Paris Consultative Group for Senegal (24–25 February), where he looked for an additional funding of the pse and managed to secure CFAfr 3,729.4 bn in loans and grants over five years, much more than the CFAfr 1,853 bn expected. He then travelled to Qatar, where he met Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani on 25–27 February to discuss funding for a ‘Cité des Affaires’ and two luxury tourism projects.

Senegal maintained its regional diplomacy. President Sall began the year by increasing the Senegalese contingent in the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (minusma) to 800 troops. Dakar welcomed Malian President Keita on 14 April and he and Sall confirmed their commitment to fighting organised crime and cross-border terrorism, and to solving operational problems at the Dakar-Bamako corridor. On 12 November, Sall promulgated a decree ratifying the treaty delineating the Senegalese border with Mali.

Sall made regular visits around Africa. He went to Cabo Verde (5–7 March), Côte d’Ivoire (29–30 March), and Gabon (8–10 December). Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire confirmed their warming diplomatic ties: on 19 March, the joint commission, which had not met for 17 years, signed 16 cooperation agreements on a wide range of sectors such as health, environment, education, agriculture and sport. On the margins of the au summit, Ghana and Senegal agreed on 29 January on the establishment of a joint cooperation committee. In October, Sall strongly denied rumours regarding his putative support for President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso and he flew on 5 November to Ouagadougou, where he was appointed by ecowas to chair the Burkina Faso contact group.

These positive diplomatic relations were marred by tensions with Gambia and Guinea. On 1 January, Senegalese passengers and freight hauliers boycotted the Gambian ferry in protest at its high prices. Negotiations on prices lasted over four months. After the Gambian authorities closed the border for one week, business relations gradually returned to normal at the end of April. The diplomatic climate became tense again when Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh charged Dakar with complicity in sheltering the perpetrators of an attempted coup against him on 31 December. The outbreak of the Ebola virus complicated the relationship with Guinea. Senegal closed its land border twice: first from 30 March to 6 May, and then on 21 August after a Guinean student infected with Ebola travelled to Dakar and became the country’s first confirmed case. This hampered cross-border commutes and trade and Guinea’s President Alpha Condé strongly criticised the Senegalese action. The only routes open between Senegal and Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia were air corridors for the delivery of humanitarian aid. On 25 October, an ecowas extraordinary summit asked Senegal to reopen its frontiers and air borders alone were reopened on 7 November. Tension with Guinea was increased when Senegalese customs seized an undeclared sum of CFAfr 10 bn in transit from the Guinean Central Bank to Dubai on 26 August.

The eu and Senegal remained close partners. On 7 January, Dakar hosted Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Emma Bonino. Both governments declared their mutual support for their respective applications for non-permanent membership of the unsc. Bilateral cooperation in fields related to economic affairs, migration and culture was reinvigorated. On 31 March, President Sall met German Chancellor Angela Merkel to speak about their economic partnership. Germany increased its financial support for local development and good governance to CFAfr 4 bn. On 11 March, the eu and Senegal signed a judicial cooperation agreement, which allocated € 2 m for the organisation of the trial of former Chadian dictator, Hissène Habré, due to take place in the Extraordinary African Chambers in Senegal in 2015. A new agreement between the eu and Senegal on fishing licences was officially signed in Brussels on 21 November, replacing the previous agreement, which had been suspended since 2006; 40 European vessels were authorised to catch 14,000 tonnes of tuna and 2,000 tonnes of hake per year in return for a total payment of € 15 m over a five-year period. The agreement also envisaged support measures designed to ensure the sustainability of the fisheries sector. On 26 November, a joint programming document was signed allocating CFAfr 785 bn to coordinate cooperation between Senegal, the eu and its member states. On 19 November, Sall met Pope Francis in Rome.

The situation of the Senegalese diaspora was a key issue. In January, the government provided CFAfr 700 m for the repatriation of 630 Senegalese from the war-torn car. As Senegalese citizens were regularly victims of assault, murder and xenophobia in Italy, Spain, Morocco, Libya and the usa, the government announced increases to specific funds to secure and support them (the ‘Caisse de Secours’ from CFAfr 40 m to CFAfr 540 m, and the ‘Fonds d’Appui à l’Investissement des Sénégalais de l’Extérieur’ from CFAfr 300 m to CFAfr 1 bn), and CFAfr 1.5 bn was granted to support women in the diaspora.

Socioeconomic Developments

Senegal’s progress towards economic recovery was confirmed despite the Ebola outbreak and a bad harvest. gdp growth reached 4.5% (compared with 3.5% in 2013). Pressures on some foods (onions and meat) and petrol prices did not reverse the overall deflation (–0.8%). On 22 January, the National Assembly passed a law to regulate and lower rents, which drove down housing costs by around 10%. The structural trade deficit fell to an estimated CFAfr 1,730.9 bn thanks to a 3% increase in exports. The current account deficit fell from 10.8% of gdp to 9.6%. On 24 July, the authorities successfully borrowed on the international market by issuing Eurobonds worth CFAfr 1,733 bn.

The state budget increased from CFAfr 2,527 bn in 2013 to CFAfr 2,685 bn, while the budgetary deficit went down to an estimated CFAfr 396 bn (5.1% of gdp). State revenues increased through improved collection of fiscal and non-fiscal revenues (especially taxes on oil products), and a CFAfr 32 bn increase in grants. An out-of-court settlement of litigation between Arcelor Mittal and Senegal provided additional income: in June, Mittal paid CFAfr 150 bn, of which cfa 45 bn was dedicated to funding the 2014 budget. A reduction in current expenditure (from CFAfr 687 bn in 2013 to CFAfr 659.2 bn) offset the increase in staff and investment expenditure (1,000 staff and 500 midwives in the public health sector were hired).

President Sall highlighted his intention to increase the country’s economic attractiveness by boosting investment and developing the national infrastructure. In January, he launched two funds (the ‘Fonds Souverain d’Investissement Stratégique’ and the ‘Fonds de Garantie des Investissements Prioritaires’), and the ‘Banque Nationale de Développement Economique’, the last of which is dedicated to supporting the sme sector. On 11 February, the bot Bill (Build, Operate and Transfer) was passed to foster public-private partnerships. On 8 May, an inter-ministerial council was created to enhance the country’s business environment and improve its Doing Business ranking. Apart from major infrastructure projects in the Dakar region, the government invested in the connectivity and electrification of rural areas through two projects (launched in February and August).

Growth was mainly driven by the tertiary sector (+5.6%). However, tourism suffered as a result of the Ebola epidemic, with tourism professionals estimating the loss at CFAFr 3 bn. The government’s efforts to save the bankrupt Senegal Airlines paid off; it was taken over by Skyjet, a uae company, on 12 June. The upturn in the secondary sector continued (+3.3%). The chemicals, power and building material sectors reported growth (up by 2.3%, 6.5% and 11.5%, respectively) while extractives and refining industries reported a decline (down by 16.6% and 4.1% respectively). The chemical industry improved slowly, particularly due to the privatisation of ‘Industries Chimiques du Sénégal’ on 6 June, and its recapitalisation on 21 August; an Indian firm, Indorama, invested CFAfr 50 bn, and became the main shareholder. The construction sector grew significantly thanks to large scale infrastructure projects, and the public housing programme. The rehabilitation of three power plants, the building of a coal-fired plant in Sendou, and important investments boosted the energy sector. On 4 August, Senelec and Contour Global, an American firm, signed a contract worth $ 100 m for the construction of a power station.

The primary sector went through a difficult time. Artisanal fisheries declined because of adverse weather conditions, over-fishing and the on-going conflict with Mauritania over fishing licences. Late rainfalls resulted in the plummeting of the cereal harvest (except for rice), and the reduction of land available for grazing, which adversely affected livestock and meat production. The government responded by giving out short season seed, lowering fertilizer prices, and providing CFAfr 13 bn to safeguard livestock. On 16 May, an emergency plan was implemented to address food insecurity in rural areas and 67,500 families had received CFAfr 16 bn worth of food aid by 31 August.

The social climate deteriorated markedly. Doctors and tax officers went on strike on 20–21 February and 26–28 February, respectively, and road hauliers’ unions went on strike on 18 November. Street vendors frequently demonstrated against eviction programmes in Dakar and regional urban centres. Public education suffered seriously from strikes. Despite a memorandum of understanding with teachers on 17 February, threats to carry out strikes and sit-ins continued to affect education between September and December. Higher education students began the year by protesting against the increase in tuition fees and high school graduates demanded university enrolment. On 11 February, the government set up a steering committee for the construction of a second university in Dakar, which would take 30,000 students by 2016. On 21 May, riots occurred on the Dakar university campus, with students protesting against the non-payment of their school grants, and the introduction of a selection process for masters degrees. Students looted the rector’s and accountant’s offices. The police intervened, leading to 125 people being injured; 22 students were arrested, but they were finally discharged on 28 May. The violence reached a climax when a student, Bassirou Faye, was shot dead by police on 14 August. On 16 August, former president Wade received a student delegation, and expressed his support. On 18 August, students demanded the resignation of the ministers of higher education and the interior as a condition for entering into any negotiation. The next day, President Sall visited some of the injured and urged everyone to remain calm. In order to avoid an ‘année blanche’ (nullifying the whole academic year), a single session of examinations was scheduled.

Civil society and professional organisations strongly criticised the epas and fishing agreements with the eu through the media and various conferences, claiming that the negotiation process had been undemocratic and untransparent. They also saw the agreements as licensing the plundering of resources and against the national interest. The building of a new Turkish embassy on the Dakar coast was another hot topic. On 12 April, the police put down a demonstration against land-grab, and 20 people were arrested, including the leaders of the ‘Y en a marre’ movement, which continued to assume its watchdog and spokesperson role by organising the second ‘Foire aux Problèmes’ (‘luma djafé djafé yi’ in Wolof) on 10 May.

The government tried to ease social tensions by announcing the creation of a High Council for Social Dialogue on 15 April. The government also lowered the retirement age to 60 and increased pensions by 10%, effective from May. On 28 August, the ‘Agence pour la Promotion de l’Emploi des Jeunes’ was launched with a budget of CFAfr 8.158 bn to encourage self-employment, facilitate access to credit, and provide 40,000 internships and jobs for young people.

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