Macky Sail was returned to the Presidential office following an overwhelming victory over second-placed Idrissa Seek, winning with a margin of 37%. Although some contenders were barred from the election on various grounds, Sail's victory is believed to reflect general confidence in his first administration. What are his priorities now? Analysis by Rafiq Raji.
Sail won a second term in office on the back of an excellent economic record. Senegal's GDP growth rate rose from about 5% in 2012, when he first took office, to 7% in 2017, the most recent year for which data is available.
Economic projections by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggest the economy will likely maintain this momentum for another half a decade to 2023, with oil and gas production in 2022 expected to lift real GDP growth to the double digits in the last two years.
However, Mark Bohlund of Bloomberg Economics worries about Senegal's rising debt. "The sharp rise in Senegal s debt in recent years has been described as an example of the 'pre-resource' curse in which governments borrow heavily now to reap the benefits of revenue streams coming online in the future. Reducing Senegal's indebtedness will be a key focus in coming years."
That said, Bohlund adds that "the Senegalese government has pledged to close the budget deficit by raising its tax revenue towards the WAEMU [West African Economic and Monetary Union] criteria of 20% of GDP.
"If successful, this would support Senegal's status as one of the few African countries being upgraded by credit rating agencies--Standard & Poor's retained its positive outlook on Senegal's B+ rating in December."
With Sail now re-elected, New African asked Adeline Van Houtte, Africa Analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit in London, about the country's outlook under his leadership for another five years.
"Macky Sail, the President, has been re-elected for a second term, and is now well placed to implement the second phase of his economic development strategy.
"Like many other African heads of state, Mr Sail was able to benefit from incumbency advantages but also his strong track record on economic and development issues, which laid the foundations for his decisive first-round victory. However, the trial of the popular Khalifa Sail and his exclusion from the...