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Podcast: 'In Chains' Episode 3

In the third episode of our new themed series In Chains, we speak with Dr. Alexis Aronowitz from University College Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands, who is the author of the article, “Regulating business involvement in labor exploitation and human trafficking” published in Journal of Labor and Society.

Brill Publishes Two New Book Series in the Social Sciences

Brill is pleased to announce the addition of two new peer-reviewed book series to its Social Sciences publishing program: International Studies in Maritime Sociology and Studies in Political Economy of Global Labor and Work. The series will be published online and in print.

Brill adds Two New Journals to Its Social Sciences Publishing Program

Two journals, the Journal of Labor and Society (JLSO) and Protest, have been added to Brill’s expanding publishing program in the Social Sciences. Both journals will be published online and in print. Previous volumes of JLSO are already available on Brill’s website, the first issues of Protest are planned for publication in 2021.


Acquisitions Editor


Jason Prevost

V&R unipress

Julia Schwanke


In 2004, general discontent with the president's policies continued, which was reflected in a proliferation of critical publications and counter-publications. It was also, again, a year of government reshuffles. On the positive side, were two important events: the abolition of the death penalty and the signing of a peace agreement between the government and the separatist movement in the Casamance. Continuing its economic liberalisation policy, Senegal made satisfactory macroeconomic progress and was eligible for important debt relief, but the majority of the population continued to live under the poverty line.

The first year of Macky Sall’s presidency, which began in March 2012, was widely scrutinised. Following the euphoria of his triumphant election, the Senegalese population attributed great importance to the improvement of their living conditions. After his electoral promises to instil a new morality in the political arena and adopt social reforms, Sall was challenged to prove that he could break out of the controversial mode of government of his predecessor, Abdoulaye Wade. The international community warmly welcomed his commitment to ‘good governance’ and Senegal’s restored international image allowed Sall to engage in active diplomacy at the sub-regional and international levels. However, his ambitious economic policies met with uneven success, and the government struggled with the improvement of living conditions and unemployment issues.

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.

Corruption scandals and violations of human rights dominated the political discourse. Debates on constitutional reform, particularly the reduction of the presidential term, and the forthcoming presidential elections resulted in infighting between and within political parties. In foreign affairs, Sall continued Senegal’s role as a major regional actor in a number of fields such as terrorism and migration.


Although the 20 March constitutional referendum dominated domestic politics, it was the legislative elections scheduled for 2017 that was affecting the posturing of Senegal’s political players by the end of the year. Other important events included the presidential pardon granted to Karim Wade and the revision of the electoral rolls for the next parliamentary elections. President Macky Sall regained the confidence of key partners and donors. Despite Senegal’s being one of the most competitive countries in West Africa, economic performance was poor. Unemployment remained high, especially among the youth.


Domestic politics was dominated by the holding of the 30 July elections and the subsequent victory of the ruling bby coalition, which retained its majority in parliament due to a fractured opposition. While this victory bolstered President Sall’s prospects for re-election in 2019, restrictions on political freedom and, in particular, the trial of the Mayor of Dakar, Khalifa Sall, who was detained for allegedly embezzling public funds, provoked divisions in national politics and charged the post-election political climate. In matters of foreign policy, Senegal sought to project itself across the world and through international organisations as a diplomatic power, while adopting measures to attract foreign investment. Although a favourable macroeconomic outlook seemed to keep Senegal on a sustainable path, the country remained a least developed country, with almost half of the population living below the poverty line. The context of recurrent strikes undermined the social sector, including education.


In the run-up to the 2019 presidential election, the atmosphere was clouded by tension, suspicion, and fear. Macky Sall and the ruling ‘Benno Bokk Yaakaar’ (bby) coalition of political parties had engineered changes in the electoral system essentially to sideline political opponents and secure a second term in office. Disqualifying the country’s two popular rivals – Khalifa Sall, a popular ex-mayor of Dakar (who is no relation to Macky Sall), and Karim Wade, the son of former president Abdoulaye Wade – on corruption allegations provoked reactions and responses among critics. Thus, tension associated with electioneering dominated Senegalese domestic politics. The national economy recorded over 6% growth, driven partly by ambitious infrastructure projects, including a railway project, power generation, and the futuristic new city of Diamniadio on the outskirts of Dakar. While some supporters and foreign backers praised Sall for boosting economic growth, frustration was widely reported among workers, notably teachers and the educated youth population. In the international arena, Senegal pursued an active foreign policy and aspired to maintain its positive reputation among international partners while continuing to prioritise cooperation with African states and foreign countries, as well as inter­national institutions.


Macky Sall secured a second term without a run-off in the 24 February presidential election amid accusations that he had sidelined political rivals. Given the post-electoral context of uncertain prospects for dialogue between the government and the opposition, the rapprochement between Macky Sall and his predecessor, Abdoulaye Wade – followed by the presidential pardon he granted to Khalifa Sall, the former mayor of Dakar – contributed to defusing political tensions. Considered one of the most stable democracies in Africa, Senegal has endeavoured to maintain a high profile on the regional and international scene. Macky Sall’s second term of office focused on the implementation of the second phase of the ‘Plan Sénégal Emergent’ (pse) – his flagship development programme designed to boost major economic and infrastructural overhaul by 2035 – and, above all, the preparations for the production of discovered oil and gas by the end of the president’s term in 2024. Despite a favourable medium-term economic outlook, non-monetary indicators point to a high unemployment rate and inequality. Senegal has suffered from a significant deficit in energy and water supply, and this has led to a series of social unrests.


Domestic politics was dominated by issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, and the national dialogue culminating in a cabinet reshuffle on 29 October. The government took measures to stop the disease’s spread within national borders and to strengthen the capacity of health systems. Increased economic hardship resulting from the pandemic spurred a wave of migrants from Senegal to the Canary Islands across the hostile sea, furthering a controversy over the alleged mismanagement of migration policy. In foreign policy matters, Senegal pursued an active policy while prioritising cooperation with African states and foreign countries, and international institutions. Economically, the growth sustained over several years suddenly slowed down from 6% to 1.3% due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which put Senegal in the top ten countries most affected by unemployment globally (with 48% of the population unemployed).


Domestic politics was dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to social unrest and, above all, mobilisation by authorities to acquire vaccines and vaccinate the population. But the most significant political issue was the protest over the arrest of prominent opposition leader Ousmane Sonko on charges of rape, which left 14 people dead. The Senegalese army conducted an offensive against the rebel bases of the Mouvement des forces démocratiques de la Casamance (mfdc) to end the insurgency in the southern region. In the run-up to local elections, the debate over electoral reform resurfaced, prompting reactions from the opposition, which denounced measures restricting political participation. Senegal strengthened its bilateral and multilateral ties with sub-regional and international partners on the foreign policy front. The country’s economy returned to its pre-pandemic trend, but the poverty rate remained high, although it went down from last year’s rate.