Focus: International relations in Senegal

Focus: International relations in Senegal

Focus — Friday, January 05, 2018

Since his election in 2012, the President of the Republic Macky Sall and with him, Senegal, have established themselves as major players on the international scene and occupy a primordial place in international debates and events. Zooming in on international relations in Senegal

For the Head of State, there is no doubt to be had: in order to move Senegal forward on the path toward emergence requires making the country into a key counterpart on international diplomatic issues.

An integrated vision of diplomacy

President Macky Sall conducts Senegalese diplomacy relying on 3 main pillars :

  • Promoting peace and political stability;
  • Respecting and protecting human rights;
  • Achieving economic development through African integration and more strongly-anchored pan-Africanism.

Driven by the determination to put Senegal on the road to emergence, the Head of State constantly defends the country's interests on a regional and international scale. Through a policy geared toward the local level, President Macky Sall wishes to prioritise strengthening relations with neighbouring countries. In particular, he has considerably improved relations with Gambia. The very first diplomatic actions of the President of the Republic included official and working visits to Gambia, Mauritania and Guinea.

President Macky Sall firmly believes that diplomacy means embodying a strong nation, open to the world.

International reach

Since 2012, Senegal has hosted numerous international events and taken on a wide range of responsibilities on a global scale. In 2014, the country shined throughout the world thanks to the organisation of the 15th Francophonie Summit in 2014 and the Peace and Security Forum in Africa. Senegal's international position can also be seen in its mandate as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in 2015 and in the country's election to the UN Human Rights Council in 2017.

The Head of State has distinguished himself in particular when he held:

  • The Presidency of the International Organisation of French-Speaking Nations (in 2016);
  • The Presidency of the Islamic Cooperation Organization (2012-2013);
  • The Presidency of ECOWAS (2016-2013);
  • The chairmanship of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Steering Committee (since 2013);
  • The Presidency of the Organization for the Development of the Senegal River (since 2017)

This significant presence on the international diplomatic scene has helped extend the country's reach.

Senegal has also distinguished itself on the military front. The country is one of the main participants in UN peacekeeping operations. Our army in particular sent 500 men to Mali with the international coalition to fight against the insurrection of Salafiste Jihadist and pro-Azawad independence groups.

Defending Africa’s interests

The President of the Republic was part of the historic gatherings that have marked recent years when he pleaded for a new perspective on Africa. As a privileged counterpart to the international community, the Head of State took advantage of COP 21 to invite the countries of the North to contribute to financing the electrification of Africa. The President thus intends to place the African continent at the centre of international discussions, highlighting the fact that a new look must be taken at Africa. At the Africa CEO Forum held in Geneva in March 2017, the Head of State said that “In a world where we all need one another, Africa must come into its full place as a major continent, aspiring to progress and prosperity”.

An entry point and opening onto the world

Today, Senegal has come to the fore with the inauguration of a new international airport. Able to serve 3 million passengers, this airport infrastructure establishes Senegal as a major hub in West Africa. AIBD is an undeniable advantage for Senegal's reach internationally, which will work to the benefit of the local populations. President Macky Sall announced it, and the facts are confirming it: 2018 will also be the year of African integration. At each ECOWAS summit, the Head of State has consistently reasserted the priority placed on building a strong and united Africa. Concurrent to this, the President continues to open the country to foreign investors (which Senegal is still attracting in ever-increasing numbers). The aim is to bring greater diversity into the economic cooperation in strategic sectors such as oil and gas, as well as diversify partnerships. In November 2017, Senegal in particular took part in the China-Senegal Forum during which Mamadou Ndiaye, Ambassador to China, met with many Chinese investors. Relations between Senegal and China have been developing more and more. The share of trade between the two countries is consistently increasing, which bodes well for ever greater investment in Senegal. More broadly, the President of the Republic is conducting a policy premised on outreach to Asia. In December 2017, he visited Japan at the invitation of Prime Minister Shinzō Abe to strengthen the diplomatic relations that bind the two countries.

Senegal will achieve emergence by uniting the West African States and opening up to the major world economic powers.

International economies are interdependent. It would be a mistake to turn inward” declared Macky Sall in early 2017 at the World Government Summit. It is by developing and intensifying strong cooperation-based relationships that Senegal will be able to distinguish itself in the major projects of the Emerging Senegal Plan (ESP).