In Senegal, the government suspends construction sites on the coast of Dakar

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A construction site on the Dakar corniche in 2007. GEORGES GOBET / AFP

In Senegal, the new government announced on Tuesday, May 14, the suspension for two months of all construction on the coast of Dakar and its region, confirming a measure welcomed by environmental defenders in the face of the concreteization of the coast. The government has also decided to create a commission responsible for verifying the legality of titles issued for old and new occupations of the maritime public domain, indicates a press release from the office of the Prime Minister, Ousmane Sonko.

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The gendarmerie had already indicated at the end of April that it had received instructions to stop construction sites on the cornices of Dakar, but the suspension had not been the subject of an official communication. The measure taken by the authorities in place since the inauguration of President Bassirou Diomaye Faye in early April caused a lot of noise. AFP journalists noted that many construction sites, including large-scale projects, were effectively at a standstill.

The Dakar coastline is the scene of intensive real estate speculation. Hotels and residential or office buildings are growing there at high speed. Defenders of the environment or quality of life denounce the privatization of the coastline through violations of the rules of law. Many Dakar residents complain of no longer having free access to the ocean. The suspension of construction sites, however, has raised questions in economic circles, with the construction sector employing a considerable number of workers.

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This decision contributed to the opening of a broader debate on land grabbing across the country. Bassirou Diomaye Faye promised to break with the system embodied by his predecessor, Macky Sall. The latter signed a decree in April 2023 declassifying an 826-hectare forest intended to prevent the advance of the sea, to authorize the construction of infrastructure, community facilities and housing. His detractors accuse him of having favored those close to those in power in the allocation of plots open to construction.

The audit commission created by the government will bring together representatives of different ministries and the National Assembly, senior officials of state services and representatives of corporations of notaries, architects, surveyors or lawyers, depending on an order taken by the Prime Minister and dated Monday. She will produce a report which will be submitted to the president.

The World with AFP

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