The vote in Senegal affects our pockets

Yes, the fact that Bassirou Diomaye Faye won the political elections in Senegal is also “our business”. The Senegalese, after weeks of tension, voted for the new president on Sunday and the polls confirmed the forty-four year old opposition candidate. Why do we care so much about what happens in Dakar? Because the effects of the Senegalese turning point bring unknowns and economic repercussions, in terms of gas, oil and exports, in Europe and in Italy in particular.

Faye presented himself in the elections as the “candidate of change”, despite having assured the world, immediately after his victory, that his country will remain a “reliable ally” of all “respectful” foreign partners. His program clearly talks about the restoration of “national sovereignty, sold off to foreign countries”. Faye promised to re-discuss all mining, gas and oil contracts signed by Dakar with the international energy giants. And, a former French colony, it has announced its intention to leave from the French colonial African.

Senegal is one of the key countries in Africa for the West. It is rich in gas and oil deposits and therefore Europe is carefully observing what is happening. There will be clear repercussions if the campaign promise is kept. Re-negotiate and review energy contracts signed with international giants for the exploitation of hydrocarbon deposits worries international investors. Senegal is in fact one of the fundamental countries for a Europe that frees itself from Russia gas supply and oil. Rome has a close relationship with Dakar. In 2023, exports (of machinery, equipment and chemical products) to Senegal meant 236.43 million euros for Italy (+11.4% compared to the previous year). At the beginning of the year, the two governments (Rome and Dakar) signed a 2024-2025 Partnership program financed with 105 million euros. This is a series of interventions aimed at development and economic growth in Senegal: employment, training, education, environment, digitalisation. Senegal is one of the pieces of the Mattei Plan of the Meloni government. And Italy's strategic interest in Africa is evident, looking at the numbers. In 2013 in sub-Saharan Africa the only ICE (Institute for Foreign Trade) office was in Johannesburg. Today there are 8 and one of these is in Dakar. And looking at trade, Italy is the second country in the world for imports of African products (raw materials in particular) and eleventh for exports).

Then there is the other point of the new Senegalese president's program: monetary reform, with the move away from the CFA franc. Before the vote, Faye spoke clearly: the idea is to work for a single currency at a sub-regional level and “if we fail to carry out the reforms at community level, we will take on the responsibility of giving Senegal its own currency”, she said. declared. Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso have already announced that they want to create a common regional anti-colonial currency to replace the CFA franc, pegged to the euro. The “new” monetary policy would obviously weaken French and European influence in the area.

Looking at the complete picture, therefore, the elections in Senegal are, indeed, a question for Rome and for all of Europe.