THE VISION OF THE NEW LEADERS FOR A STRONG INDUSTRY

THE VISION OF THE NEW LEADERS FOR A STRONG INDUSTRY
THE VISION OF THE NEW LEADERS FOR A STRONG INDUSTRY

Since its independence in 1960, Senegal has attempted to industrialize its economy with mixed success and persistent challenges. Today, the new leaders aim to transform the industry to make it more efficient, resilient and autonomous.

Early policies focused on infrastructure and light industry, such as the Dakar Industrial Free Zone, the chemical industry and textiles. However, low diversification and inadequate infrastructure have limited these successes, making the country dependent on imports and vulnerable to external shocks.

To overcome these obstacles, the leaders of the third alternation want to transform agricultural products into value-added chains to create wealth and jobs. For example, the tomato sector, from Saint-Louis to Aéré Lao, could make Senegal autonomous and exporting and allow the three existing industrial units to operate at full capacity. Small semi-industrialization units could increase production capacity and reduce post-harvest losses.

The peanut industry, despite subsidies, exports a lot of unprocessed products to countries like China. Better structuring would better respond to local needs and create opportunities for exporting peanut oil. Thus it will be possible to allow SONACOS to

favor local consumption. This paradigm shift would, among other advantages, favor the citizen, who today consumes more imported vegetable oil, which can produce harmful compounds with regard to cooking practices in Senegal, generally carried out at very high temperatures.

The banana sector, with the transformation of fresh banana into 23 possible by-products, including banana flour which is already exploited by women’s groups in Tambacounda, could create jobs and allow export to Europe, which sees its demand grow by more than 200,000 tonnes per year.

To succeed, Senegal could take inspiration from South Korea and Germany. Indeed, South Korea, after the ravages of war, adopted a strategy of rapid industrialization supported by strong government policies, initially focusing on semi-industrialization before turning to large-scale industry in sectors of high technology such as electronics and automobiles. This transition, orchestrated with active state support for investment and research, has propelled South Korea among the world’s advanced economies, with a GDP that dramatically increased from USD 2.3 billion in 1962 to more than 1.6 trillion USD in 2020.

On the other hand, Germany has focused on the quality of its professional and technical training, in particular through its work-study training system which combines theory and practice. This model has made it possible to develop specific skills meeting the requirements of cutting-edge industries, particularly in the automotive, machinery and chemical sectors, thus consolidating its position as economic leader in Europe.

The new authorities want to boost industrialization by establishing 45 agropoles, including semi-industry, and taking advantage of the agricultural resources of each region. This strategy aims to reposition Senegal as a major player in the production of processed goods with high added value.

With a development approach to semi-industrial transformation, perfectly articulated with industrialization, Senegal can strategically transform its economy and achieve sustainable and inclusive industrial development. The new leaders are leading the way toward a strong, self-sustaining industry capable of creating massive wealth and jobs. The potential is there, and with the right policies and our agricultural products as a basis for investment, Senegal can become a model of success in Africa and beyond.

Together, let’s write a new chapter in Senegal’s industrial history, marked by success, resilience and shared prosperity.

Dr Idrissa DOUCOURE

Chairman of the World Investment & Business Council, London

PhD, Executive MBA, and Engineer

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