|The Courier No. 136 - Nov-Dec 1992 - Dossier Humanitarian Aid Country Reports Sao Tomé-Principe-Senegal (European Community, 1992)|
|Senegal: Democracy pays dividends|
Senegal and the European Community have been partners for a long time. For 30 years, the two countries have worked side by side to create development policies which have had an effect on all the major economic sectors.
More than 370 billion CFA francs have been made available to the Senegalese authorities, principally through the European Development Funds, but also by virtue of a range of other instruments set up by the Community over the years.
At the heart of the relationship lies technical and financial cooperation, which has covered and continues to cover a wide range of areas. Today, the main focus is on two of the principal sectors in Senegal's development namely, agriculture and road infrastructure.
As a country bordering the Atlantic Ocean which has traditionally derived an income from its maritime resources, Senegal has, not surprisingly, also benefited in no small measure since 1979 from the fishing agreements which it has concluded with the European Community.
A third source of assistance for Senegal has been through SYSMIN, the system of support for mineral exports. This support has had a continuing and significant impact on the development of the phosphates industry, which is a major provider of foreign exchange for the country. The European Investment Bank (EIB), an important partner for Senegal, has been active in providing backing to the phosphates sector, and is also involved in other major projects including the upgrading and extension of the telephone network and improvements to Dakar's water supply system.
Very recently, Senegal has made use of funds, coming partly from the 'human rights and democracy' budget heading for developing countries, for the organisation of the May 1993 general elections.
Finally, under the heading of regional cooperation, Senegal and other countries of West Africa will, with EC support, shortly begin implementation of the Regional Indicative Programme. Eighty billion CFA francs (ECU 228 million) have been made available for this purpose and the funds will be directed towards three focal sectors - the management of natural resources and the protection of the environment, transport and telecommunications, and the improvement of the natural resource base.
Financial and technical cooperation, fishing agreements, SYSMIN, help for the democratic process, regional cooperation - these are all examples of a cooperative relationship which has many aspects but just one essential goal - the development of Senegal.
An agricultural country
Primary production still predominates in Senegal, 30 years after independence. Notwithstanding the relative importance of other areas of activity, the country remains fundamentally an agricultural one. This sector still leads the field in economic terms, providing 22% of GDP in 1991 and work for almost three quarters of the population.
Cooperation between the EC and Senegal has been influenced by this situation, following broadly the orientations and priorities set by the Senegalese authorities. After independence, Senegal, with the support of the first EDF (19581963), developed and modernised its export crops, which were the only source of foreign exchange available to pay for equipment and administration. Groundnuts were specifically targeted. The aim of the cooperation was, in essence, to enable this sector to remain competitive while at the same time meeting the requirements set out in the rules adopted by the newly established European Community.
The second EDF (1964-1969) went on to provide assistance for agricultural diversification with support for cotton growing in eastern Senegal as well as a number of support measures for farmers (equipment for new farmers, soil improvement, seed distribution etc.).
The drought of the 1970s came as a major shock. National authorities and donors alike had to respond rapidly to the immediate needs of the population before embarking on the search for new, longer-term solutions to the crisis. This involved the re-establishment of both productive projects and infrastructures. The third and fourth EDFs (1970-1980) were to reflect these concerns.
The fifth EDF (1981-1985), imbued with the spirit of the 'Memorandum on Community Development Policy' drafted by the Development Commissioner, Mr Pisani, emphasised development programmes and projects per se rather than more generalised aid.
The purpose of these interventions is to bring about food security for the population, improve the environment and fight desertification. In order to achieve the objectives, a framework of measures was put in place by the authorities. These included the establishment of a Cereal Plan in 1986 and the construction of dams at Diama and Manantali which came into service in October 1992 after ten years of effort.
The Cereal Plan gives a diagnosis of the food situation in Senegal and sets out the main principles on an overhauled agricultural policy. The plan strongly emphasises the importance of national production, supported in particular by an incentive pricing policy. There are plans to reduce the country's food deficit through increased use of irrigation, primarily in the Senegal River Valley. It deals at length with the redefinition of the role of the State and of regional development enterprises, with enhanced participation by the people and the private sector.
Irrigation based on the Senegal River in this way is rendered possible by the building of dams. These dams are a major priority for the three riparian States - Mali, Mauritania and Senegal - since they offer the means of re-establishing food security for the populations affected by drought. The European Community will be heavily involved in the execution of this project, the purpose of which is to fight desertification and help the local people to meet their own needs for food as well as to generate sufficient income.
The expansion of the rice sector, which is currently the only feasible option for increasing rural incomes, involves developments aimed at the peasant populations and designed to increase profitability. Experience acquired in the field by the European Community, which has over the years developed more than 6800 hectares of irrigated land, given over mainly to rice, has provided a good basis for its participation in the discussions about the agricultural structural adjustment programme, in so far as it affects the rice sector. The rice component of the programme involves an agreed approach between the donors and the Senegalese Government, along the lines of the wider Cereal Plan, which supports the disengagement of the Government from this sector.
The 6th EDF and Podor
The framework having been established, the European Community increased its existing efforts in the Senegal River Valley under the 6th EDF (19851990). The implementation of a support programme costing 35 billion CFA francs for the development of the Podor Region has had a visible impact upon its landscape. There were a number of different objectives - to ensure food security, to restore the natural environment and to open up the region.
This programme, which was based principally on hydro-agricultural development, was also directed towards the road infrastructure. There was, furthermore, a novel component aimed at creating employment through small and medium-sized enterprises and at achieving social development through microprojects.
Different types of project
To achieve the food security objectives, different types of complementary hydro-agricultural development were put in place. They should provide peasants with the capacity to feed themselves and to release savings. Implementation of the schemes fits in with the increased responsibility being taken by peasants, who are organised in Economic Interest Groupings (EIGs). EIGs themselves have made significant progress over the period.
The first developments, the basins, are large surface areas equipped with a pumping station. Development works cost some CFAF 5 million per hectare. The areas are brought into productive operation by the peasants, who are provided with high-quality equipment and materials for the purpose. Following the previously estabilished pilot scheme at Nianga (633 hectares), and the one now set up at Diomandou (470 hectares)' two further sites, at Ndioum (700 hectares) and A Lao (1025 hectares), will be made available for the peasants.
Then there are 1050 hectares of irrigated village perimeters which have progressively been made available under the programme, following on from the 2293 hectares under previous EDFs. The individual plots, which are closer to the villages and have an average area of between 10 and 20 hectares, will henceforth include agro-forestry as well. Development work in this area is more modestly priced at about CFAF I million per hectare. Finally, almost 300 hectares of perimeter have been made available to villagers under the SME programme. This is mainly for the benefit of private individuals, and development costs are between 0.3 and 0.4 million CFA francs per hectare.
Work to restore the natural environment, which is one of the objectives of the programme, has been carried out under the 'Prna' heading with a budget of CFAF 1.7 billion. The object is to reverse the process of degradation of natural resources. Thirty years ago, forests covered hundreds of thousands of hectares in the river area. Today, no forest remains. 'Prna', which began in 1988, follows on from two previous forestry projects, from which valuable experience was gained. The programme, which faces many difficulties, is designed to induce the local people to take charge of the management of the forest resource in a way which fits in with agriculture, livestock and water supply.
Roads - a speciality of European cooperation
For 30 years, the European Community has put considerable amounts of effort into road infrastructures - in financial terms, more than 22 billion CFA francs. In the St Louis region alone, the Rosso-Bio-Ndioum link was financed under the 6th EDF at a cost of 3.6 billion CFA francs. A logical next step was the rehabilitation of a stretch further up on the Dakar-St Louis route with a view to opening up the northern region. On a different level, tracks have been laid out in the Podor region under a CFAF 1.8 billion programme which allows the people of the island of More, phil, a zone which is cut off from the ' world during the rainy season and when the river is high, to go about their business.
Work in the field of small and medium-sized enterprises is not confined exclusively to the agriculture sector. It also extends to a range of other activities. The aim is to increase the value of private enterprise and to meet the strong demand for credit facilities which is not met by the traditional banking sector. This introduction to the business world has as its basis the withdrawal of the State and the privatisation of agricultural activities - a very different state of affairs from the development options of the 1960s and 1970s.
The establishment of SMEs was carried out initially through two separate projects which were merged in 1991. The first, which was emergency aid finance, involved the integration of returnees from Mauritania while the second took the form of support for the creation of SMEs made available under the 6th EDF. A total of almost two billion CFA francs has been injected into the region under this project, helping in the establishment of more than 500 SMEs throughout the Senegal River Valley.
This highly positive experience has also resulted in a change of attitude, as regards SMEs, on the part of the commercial banks. There is, on the current agenda, the opening of a line of credit of more than CFAF 600 million, to be allocated in part to the banks and in part to a financial company for risk capital investments in enterprises.
A community approach
This approach in no sense excludes local community participation. The microprojects budget heading, which has CFAF 500 million (ECU 1.4 million), supports initiatives in favour of women and young people in the development of the region. Henhouses, sheep enclosures, gardens, onion storage centres, school renovation schemes and health facilities, all established with community participation, are highly appreciated, particularly in those areas where women or young people have not hitherto received much attention.
Similarly, through the health programme financed under the 6th EDF (CFAF 700 million), the focus is mainly on improving basic health care for people in the Podor region. This has been possible, in no small measure, thanks to the major efforts undertaken through previous EDFs, which resulted in the building of regional hospitals in Ndioum and Ourossogui and the renovation of that of St Louis.
The health component of the 6th EDF was developed in close liaison with the rest of the support programme for the Podor region. It is clear that while the improvement in living conditions necessarily entails hydro-agricultural development, it is unfortunately also the case that this leads to an increase in malaria and bilharzia - illnesses linked to water. It was necessary to tackle these issues, and the related one of water hygiene, without delay. This was why the highly popular and decentralised programme for malaria and the 'water-hygiene-health' programme were developed. These concentrated on education, training and awareness-raising throughout the area and involved a series of concerted actions which brought together local people and medical staff working in the region. Research has also been funded in the fight against bilharzia.
The improvement of water quality is one of the two objectives of the village water scheme, which has been allocated CFAF 2.5 billion under the Support Programme. This scheme, which is increasingly to be taken over by the local people, aims to provide the population of 36 villages in the Podor region with water in sufficient quantity and of suitable quality. The programme involves the restoration of existing boreholes and wells, the sinking of new boreholes and the development of infrastructure for storing and distributing water. In order to achieve maximum efficiency, the village water programme was linked to the regional solar programme (CFAF 1.5 billion) which allows for the provision of photovoltaic equipment for pumping but also for lighting, sanitary refrigeration and the recharging of batteries.
No discussion of the impact of the 6th EDF would be complete without a reference to the modernisation of the town of Podor under the budget heading of 'urban infrastructure', to the tune of CFAF 1.4 billion. At the entrance to the town there is now a large bus station used by bush taxis, while in the centre a covered market and shops have contributed to an improvement in facilities for the retail trade and for the storage of fresh products. Finally, as regards environmental improvements, water supply and sewage networks have been developed beneath new asphalted roads.
7th EDF - job creation and - food security
The finishing touches are currently being put to the 7th EDF programme, which has been allocated CFAF 38 billion (ECU 112 million). This will build on the work undertaken through previous EDFs. In the 'roads' section of the sectoral transport adjustment programme, the strategy which has been adopted involves preserving what had already been achieved through rehabilitation and maintenance. This will be carried out in future by the private sector. A substantial amount - some 25 billion CFAF - has been set aside for the implementation of the roads programme.
The other principal areas of activity will be in job creation and food security. Priority programmes in the social, political and economic spheres involving SMEs and microprojects will be extended to other regions and will be mixed with small public investment programmes of high labour intensity. Food security will be the major objective behind the implementation of low-cost hydro-agricultural developments aimed at crop-growing in an increasingly 'privatised' environment.
Trade cooperation - fish top the export league
Senegal, which has very favourable natural conditions for fisheries with its 700 kilometres of coast, has traditionally been able to exploit this position to its advantage. Fish continue to be the principal source of export revenues (some 23% of the total in 1989, representing more than 60 billion CFA francs).
The fisheries agreements between the European Community and Senegal have represented both a significant and an original initiative as regards cooperation in this area. Concluded first in 1979, and then renegotiated every two years, the agreements have established a precedent. In effect, the two-yearly operating protocols set out fishing rights for Community vessels as well as the compensatory payments to be made by the Community. To the latter must also be added the payment by vessel owners of annual fishing licence fees.
One of the most important original aspects of the agreement is the establishment of a series of specific provisions including the obligation to land tuna catches in Senegal. This ensures a source of supply for Senegalese canneries. The payment by the Community also contains an element which is used to finance scientific programmes as well as study and training grants.
The most recent operating protocol, signed on I October 1992 for a two-year period, broadly maintains the previous position. The total allowable catch is the same as in the previous protocol calculated on the basis of vessel tonnages (30 600 tonnes) with adaptations to the needs of Community fishermen as well as to categories and types of fishing (with freezing). Financial compensation has increased - up from CFAF 10.062 billion (ECU 28.75 million) to CFAF 10.608 billion (ECU 31.2 million) with CFAF 210 million (ECU 600 000) devoted to the financing of scientific programmes and CFAF 70 million (ECU 200 000) given over to bursaries and studies.
Industrial cooperation - phosphates
The phosphate industry is a third important source of foreign exchange for Senegal, contributing about 22% of export earnings.
Senegal has benefited and will continue to benefit from a range of European financial mechanisms designed to help restore the competitiveness of this sector in an international market affected by recession and by a tendency towards lower prices. This is a competitiveness which has been further affected by the fact that Senegalese phosphates have a high cadmium content, and this poses ecological risks for the purchasing country.
An initial sum of some 5 billion CFA francs (ECU 15 million) was agreed in 1990. This allows for the development of techniques aimed at reducing cadmium levels as well as for adaptation by the relevant companies to the extra costs which have resulted. This project is currently under way.
A new agreement was signed on 28 October, involving the sum of CFAF 3.7 billion (ECU 10.5 million) in order to increase the capacity of one of the factories operating in this sector. This drive for productivity will also be supported by the European Investment Bank. The EIB is presently studying a project proposal costing CFAF 5 billion (ECU 15 million) in order to assist in the exploitation of new reserves.
Overall, the support of the European Community for the maintenance of Senegal's phosphate industry will, therefore, be substantial, amounting in total to CFAF 15 billion (ECU 45 million). To this sum should be added the various other sources of financial assistance from the EIB, which have amounted to some 12 billion CFA francs (ECU 35 million) since the beginning of the 1980s.
More than CFAF 500 million for elections
A new approach introduced by the European Community, from which Senegal has been able to benefit, is that of assisting the democratic process. CFAF 525 million (ECU 1.5 million) has been provided to support the electoral process in the forthcoming poll (in 1993). Part of the funds comes from the special budget heading to support actions favouring human rights and democracy in developing countries. The remainder is in the form of resources from Senegal's own national indicative programme under the 7th EDF.
Through this measure, the European Community is making a concrete contribution to the implementation of the new, consensual electoral code which was promulgated on 7 February 1992. This code requires the mobilisation of substantial financial resources to cover a series of technical operations which must be carried out if the new system is to work successfully.
In cooperation with the Senegalese authorities and other concerned donors, the help supplied by the Community will mainly involve the printing of the election documents for the May 1993 general elections. Most of the budget is for ballot papers, election envelopes, information posters and voting cards.
In short, this illustrates the desire within Europe to offer support and assistance, through positive action, for the democratic process and ways of enhancing it.