The effects of the global financial crisis, especially t he rise in the prices of almost all foodstuffs with their heavy consequences for the consumer, highlighted the economic sector of Senegal in 2009.
Indeed, no sector has been spared by the rising prices, from agriculture to ener gy.
The prices of basic commodities – rice, milk, meat, gas, sugar and cooking oil – shot up in 2009 as a result of the global crisis.
Statistics published by the Senegal Consumer Association (Ascosen) show that, un der the rising cost of accommodation, electricity, gas and food products, the consumer price index increased by 1% in the third quarter of 2009.
But the underlying inflation remains under control over the same period and is e stimated at 0.4%, Ascosen said.
Also, the quarterly report of the National Statistics and Demography Agency (ANS D) reveals that consumer prices have already undergone a slight increase in the third quarter.
ANSD said this was due to the rise in the prices of accommodation, water, electr icity, gas and other fuels ( + 1.8%), food products and alcoholic drinks (+1.3%) and transport services ( +1.0% ).
Thus, it maintains, despite the improved international situation as compared to the two previous years, marked by the energy and food crises, and contrary to the two previous quarters of 2009, some prices have kept rising, along with t he index.
On the energy front, the energy minister announced, in a statement dated 25 June 2009, an 08% increase on the electricity bill.
Also, the price of the 6-kilo gas cylinder, the most widely used in households, increased by 25%, from 2.250 to 2.700 F CFA.
In a country where 30% of the population are ”poor” or ”employed”, the risin g prices have attracted widespread anger, with many blaming it on bad governance.
In fact, some Imams in the suburbs of Dakar organised protest marches in the nat ion’s capital against the rising prices, urging citizens not to pay their electricity bills.
The consequences of all the high prices include the drop in the real rate of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), estimated this year at 1.2%, as against a little more than 2.5% in 2008.
To improve the situation in 2010, consumers are asking for an inflation control policy to check the antics of economic speculators and the establishment of a mo r e appropriate fiscal policy with an acceptable tax level.
They also advocate for a regulation of the market prices of basic commodities an d a greater involvement of security agencies (police, gendarmerie) in the fight against speculation.
Apart from the issue of high prices, Senegal’s acceptance into the Millennium Ch allenge Account also represented a major highlight. Under this US programme, Senegal was granted 270 billion F CFA, after the signing of the necessary pact b y the leaders of the two countries 16 September.
The five-year programme is aimed at economic development projects in the country ‘s north and south, namely the building of infrastructure, the restructuring and modernization of markets and the exploitation of a surface are a of 8,000 hectares in the Senegalese river valley.