Magazine article African Business

Optimism Still Reigns

Magazine article African Business

Optimism Still Reigns

Article excerpt

Senegal's economic growth in 2008 should have been around 5%, but in the event it only reached 2.5%. This disappointing performance was probably linked to the food crisis in the first half of the year, as well as the rising oil price (Senegal is an oil importer) and the accumulation of government borrowing.

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According to Mansour Cama, the president of the National Confederation of Employers in Senegal, businesses in the construction sector were severely impacted by the state's delay in the payment of arrears. "The consequence of this was the suspension of certain activities including infrastructure works undertaken by the state," he notes

The situation this year, according to the Minister of State for Economy and Finance, Abdoulaye Diop, is that government borrowing - estimated in October 2008 to amount to CFA 174bn - has been totally paid down. This was in part thanks to donors like France that remains Senegal's most important trading partner. In an unstable West Africa - viewed through events in neighbouring Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau, and Guinea-Conakry - Senegal offers stability, despite the crisis that affecting the country. "Senegal is one of the countries that needs help," says the EU Ambassador, Gilles Hervio.

Despite a number of mistakes that have come to light, in the opinion of most of the international community Senegal remains a model for public finance management. Government is committed to restoring macroeconomic stability and improving sustainable public finances. …

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