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Senegal today: Corporate resource extraction, corruption: Page 2 of 3

Posted on 28 August 2019

the Senegalese economy

Senegal is a poor country where the majority of the population cannot meet basic needs. After the many struggles against agribusiness' land grabbing, the government is struggling to keep its promises, particularly with regard to rice self-sufficiency. This shows the need to strengthen the fight for food sovereignty amid the manifestations of climate change such as rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall.

The consequences of the policies pursued by the government, particularly the push for the EPAs, are manifested by the invasion of the Senegalese economy by big French-owned retail food-store companies. Among Casino, Pridoux, and other companies, the arrival of French multinational Auchan was controversial especially with the intervention of the No to EPAs Coalition and France Degage! movement. Today, Auchan stands out and is worried only by the arrival of its French competitor, Carrefour. Senegalese traders, big and small, are unable to cope with this competition. They are trying hard to mobilize to face the invasion of their economic space by European products.

Elsewhere, two other foreign companies -- Senegalaise des Eaux (SDE) and Suez -- compete for water distribution in urban areas. The State of Senegal decided not to renew the long-time contract of water leasing with SDE, which offers a lower rate than its rival Suez. The Senegalese Social Forum, which works on water issues, is worried about this new partnership given issues raised against Suez in several countries. Actions have been taken to expose the bribes of the new contract. The position of civil society organisations such as  l'Africaine de Recherche et de Coopération pour l'Appui au développement Endogène (ARCADE) is, in contrast to supporting either of the two multinationals, to assert respect for the sovereign right of Senegalese people to this important resource.

Resource extraction, corruption

The current contribution of the mining sector to the Senegalese economy is very negligible. In fact, the extractive sector (mining and hydrocarbons) contributes 4.6% to the state budget and its contribution to GDP is 1.9%. In addition, mining and oil companies employ 0.3% of the Senegalese workforce. The only contribution is exports with 35.5%. Even with phosphates, gold, iron and zircon, people living in the different localities are harmed without benefiting from the incomes. The state relies heavily on discoveries in oil and gas to boost this contribution of the hydrocarbon sector in the Senegalese economy.

After nearly 60 years of exploration, oil was discovered in Sangomar in 2014, and off St-Louis and Kayar in 2016. Since then, many important discoveries have been made with Senegal as having one of the largest reserves in West Africa. Hopes are placed on these resources to accelerate the development of the country from 2021. The extraction is estimated between 200,000 and 300,000 barrels per day for several years from 2021 to 2023. Government has been signing contracts for research and exploitation. A strategic orientation committee for gas and oil is set up, a national institute for training for the gas and oil trades created, among others.

Certainly, there are risks of environmental degradation as big companies, such as Total and British

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