|The Courier No. 136 - Nov-Dec 1992 - Dossier Humanitarian Aid Country Reports Sao Tomé-Principe-Senegal (European Community, 1992)|
|Senegal: Democracy pays dividends|
by Famara Ibrahima SAGNA,
Minister of Economic and Financial Affairs and Planning
Under LomSenegal has placed a lot of emphasis on agriculture and rural development in general, economic and social infrastructure and the promotion of business, trade and craft. These sectors were chosen for the simple reason that they are priority areas of our economy.
This aid fits in with the general aims of development in that it stimulates exports and helps with the balance of payments. At the same time, it constitutes support for our drive to promote economic and social development by financing key sectors of the economy.
The aid, which is normally absorbed by the Senegalese authorities, has made it possible, inter alia, to run major schemes in agriculture and rural development in general and in economic and social infrastructure and to set up machinery to stabilise our export revenue or finance particular products, emergency aid and so on.
We in Senegal use Stabex and we have had more than CFAF 76 billion for our groundnut products so far.
Commnity aid for Podor
Aid has been focused on a region like Podor above all to make up for regional differences in economic awl social infrastructure, to provide support for the opening of SMEs and to promote development at grass roots level. It is therefore in line with the trend in cooperation which began with the 6th EDF, which, true to the principle of geographical concentration, channelled CFAF 33 billion into the Podor region, as follows:
- CFAF 16.8 billion for hydro-agricultural developments;
- CFAF 1.75 billion to restore the natural environment;
- CFAF 700 million as support for the opening of SMEs;
- CFAF 8 billion for economic and social infrastructure;
- CFAF 3.15 billion as support for a variety of grassroots development schemes.
Human rights and development
The problem does not arise in Senegal's case, because our country began taking notice of human rights long before the funders thought about them as an attribute of aid. Our country made this factor, the human condition and human rights, an integral part of the untouchable principles of its economic and social management a long time ago.
In Senegal, we believe that the Convention is the preferred framework for cooperation. That poses no problems since, alongside this cooperation under the Convention, the other, non-Convention cooperation, with its special programmes of emergency aid and fishing programmes and Stabex and Sysmin and so on, is very fruitful and our country has had a lot of advantages from it so far.
The 6th EDF
Let us look at the nine most important aspects covered here.
The following general aims have been achieved.
- The most efficient growing techniques (animal-drawn machinery,
wind breaks and R&cD) have been phased in.
- The degree of financial and technical autonomy of producers, now grouped together in economic interest groups, has been improved.
- They have been equipped with mills, huskers, threshers etc.
- The back-up structure is equipped and working properly.
- Women have been involved in production.
Training for farmers, particularly when it comes to management and keeping accounts, is still the weak spot here.
Restoring the natural environment
Despite unfavourable local eco-climatic conditions (drought, wind erosion and the over-exploitation of natural resources), quantity-wise the project targets have been met overall.
The difficulty is actually to involve the peasant farmers in the preservation and restoration of the environment in which they live.
Small and medium-sized businesses
Something like 100 projects have been run here since January 1990. The people are displaying an increasing interest in access to bank loans and joining economic interest groups and the setting up of the CNCAS in Ndioum and the BICIS in Podor should help this along.
However, the problems are:
- getting the promoters to realise that the idea of
reimbursement is in fact a reality, an obligation which cannot be ducked and is
beneficial for all concerned;
- generating collective solidarity between all promoters by means of the mutual guarantee fund;
- diversifying agricultural production;
- setting up small, lasting, profitable processing units.
- rehabilitation of the RN2, the second national road, with
cofinancing from Italy;
- the making of production and communication tracks on the island of Morphil;
- urban infrastructure (water supplies, drainage, the bus station and extensions to the market) in Podor;
- regional radio, with a view to Senegalese Radio and Television (RTS) covering the northern parts of the valley.
This is going well, but the health authorities' meagre contribution to the proper running of the programme could be a barrier.
Socio-cultural environment and the promotion of women
Micro-projects were run here to provide support for various development schemes at grass roots level.
Coordination and monitoring
Community support here is in the form of:
- financing of the national expert for the programme monitoring
committee at the Ministry of Economic and Financial Affairs and Planning since
October 1988; - financing of technical assistance for the unit responsible for
maintaining the dam;
- financing of the expert missions needed to prepare, implement and evaluate the programme;
- financing of a study of the economic power of women in the Podor department.
Cooperation outside me indicative programme
- EIB loans of CFAF 2.275 billion to the SOFISEDIT, CFAF 2.45
billion to the State for its share in the extra capital of the ICSs and CFAF 4.2
billion to SONATEL.
- CFAF 37 billion-worth of Stabex transfers.
- CFAF 1 billion to resettle returnees from Mauritania.
- CFAF 4 billion-worth (100 000 t) of crude oil in 1988 as support for the balance of payments.
- A Sysmin loan of CFAF 5.3 billion to remove cadmium from Senegalese phosphate.
Senegal has benefited from some CFAF 45.5 billion here, used to set up 10 regional projects including a solar programme, a butane programme, the Dakar-Banjul road and support for ASECNA.