Senegal is a new priority country for Poland’s development cooperation, having been entered on the list of 10 beneficiary countries as of 2016. As is the case with other partners in Africa, Poland’s development cooperation for Senegal will focus on supporting human capital, environmental protection, as well as entrepreneurship and the private sector.
In respect of the Human Capital strategic priority, development cooperation for Senegal will be pursuing two deliverables:
- Increasing access to better healthcare for mothers and children
- Improving teaching conditions and quality at all levels of education.
Senegal ranks 170th (as of 2014) in the UNDP Human Development Index which annually monitors the socio-economic development of countries around the world. This makes Senegal one of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
In Senegal, the poverty rate stands at 57.3% in rural areas and 41.3% in towns and cities. Measures to raise the quality of education and healthcare (among others, increasing the number of teachers and doctors, upgrading their qualifications, investment in infrastructure) are essential for the population’s living standards to improve. Those measures are consistent with the National Strategy for Economic and Social Development 2013-2017 (SNDES), approved by the Senegalese government.
A universal primary education target has not been reached yet. In 2012, Senegal’s EDI (Education for All Development Index) rank was 0.716, which means that the country was in the group of the least developed countries. In 2014, Senegal’s primary adjusted net enrolment ratio was 71%, while Poland’s was 97% (source). The low schooling rate and the high percentage of people prematurely dropping out of school (41%) are caused by the deficiencies of the Senegalese school system, which is characterised by a lack of teachers and a low quality of education and school infrastructure. In 2012, there were 49 pupils per one teacher at the primary education level (compared with Poland’s 10). The lack of qualified teaching staff is a problem, too. Only 15% of early education teachers have the required training and qualifications (source).
A similar story can be told about the Senegalese health care system, which does not fulfil WHO criteria in terms of the availability of medical infrastructure and qualified health workforce. According to the 2008 data, the doctor-to-patients ratio is almost 17,000 (source). In 2013, the neonatal mortality rate stood at 23 (per 1,000 live births), which ranks Senegal 45th in terms of mortality. According to the most recent data for 2009-2013, the maternal mortality ratio amounted to 390 per 100,000 live births (source). However, per Millennium Development Goal No 5, this ratio should have gone down to 127 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births by the end of 2015.
The following deliverables have been set for the Environmental Protection priority area:
- Improving water management, including better access to water and sanitary infrastructure; promoting hygiene
- Improving access to renewable energy sources
- Arresting deforestation, desertification, and soil degradation
- Enhancing the capacities to prevent and respond to natural and man-made disasters.
The Environmental Protection priority is of a cross-cutting nature and of fundamental importance from the point of view of sustained economic growth. Environmental protection and the management of natural resources are also one of the specific development objectives in the SNDES programming document.
In 2015, the percentage of people with access to basic sanitation was 65.4% and 33.8% for urban and rural areas, respectively, i.e. far from the target of 76% as set by Millennium Development Goal No 7 (source). One of the pillars of the SNDES strategy, Human Capital, Social Protection and Sustainable Development, lays down a specific goal: Increased Access to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation.
Senegal’s Strategy targets the following objectives to create balanced access to safe drinking water and hygiene services between the rural and urban areas:
- Increased access to safe drinking water
- Develop sanitation services (constructing and improving waste water treatment plants, extending rainwater drainage systems in urban centres, constructing and rehabilitating sewage systems in urban and peri-urban areas)
- Support the integrated and sustained management of water resources (protection and conservation of strategic water supply sources)
- Foster good governance (the promotion of eco‐citizenship at the community level, strengthening of logistical means and human resources of hygiene brigades)
The same pillar establishes another specific goal, Risk and Disaster Prevention and Management. Owing to Senegal’s geographic position, the high risk of adverse effects of climate change, and the risk of industrial disasters, the Strategy points to the need to prevent and reduce major disaster risks and improve the capacities to respond to natural disasters.
The Entrepreneurship and the Private Sector priority is set to deliver the following results:
- Promoting entrepreneurship, especially among young people and women, and creating jobs in rural areas
- Expanding access to high-quality technical education and vocational training
- Raising the competitiveness, efficiency and innovation of producers’ groups, cooperatives and workers’ cooperatives, in particular in the agri-food sector
Boosting entrepreneurship and the private sector, including small and medium-sized businesses, is an essential factor in social development and innovation and competitiveness of the economy. The lack of adequately qualified workforce is one of the barriers to Senegal’s enterprise development. The goals of Polish development cooperation allow for the need to modernise the system of technical teaching and vocational training and to reach out to groups previously excluded from employment support programmes.
Senegal’s economy chiefly relies on mining, construction, tourism, fishery and agriculture; farming employs 77.5% of the population (compared with 12.6% in Poland). The remaining 22.5% work in the industry and services sectors. According to the 2015 data, agriculture, industry and services accounted for 17.1%, 24.3%, and 58.6% of GDP (source), respectively. By comparison, in 2015 agriculture, industry and services generated 3.3%, 41.1%, and 55.6% of Poland’s GDP (source), respectively.
In 2013, Senegal’s labour market participation rate was 50.5%, and only 33.4% among women. Overall unemployment that year stood at 25.7%, with 40.4% among women and 18% among men (source). According to the diagnosis presented in the "Sénégal Emergent" economic plan, unemployment is the single most acute problem for 26.8% of the country’s households.