Delegation of the European Union to Senegal

Senegal and the EU

12/05/2016 - 17:21
EU relations with Country

Senegal and the EU have enjoyed a close relationship for more than 50 years. Currently, this relationship simultaneously comprises a structured political dialogue, strong trade relations, a fisheries agreement, and technical and financial cooperation in support of the country’s populations. It involves a sustained partnership as much with government authorities and public institutions as with civil society and the private sector.

As part of its common strategy, the EU-Africa partnership views relations through an innovative approach by considering Europe and Africa a single continent, determined to work together to tackle the global challenges with which they are faced.

An open political dialogue

Governed by the Partnership Agreement signed in Cotonou in June 2000, and reviewed every 5 years, relations between the EU and the ACP [African, Caribbean and Pacific] partners allow for regular political dialogue to take place between the EU and the countries’ authorities where they are represented.

Dialogue focuses on issues of common interest not only at national level, but also at regional, continental and international levels. Its objective is to contribute towards peace and security and it aims to promote a stable and democratic political environment.

The exchange of views within the framework of this dialogue makes it possible to evaluate the partners’ progress with regard to respect for human rights and basic freedoms, democratic principles and the rule of law, and the transparent management of public affairs.

The EU and its Member States are facilitating open trade as well as regional and commercial integration as key elements in the success of strategies for growth and development.

Within this context, Senegal enjoys a preferential trade regime given its status as a developing country, in addition to specific programmes to facilitate trade and trade integration. Since 1 January 2014, a new version of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) has been put in place in order to improve the trade preferences granted by the EU to the countries that need them most.

The EU supports regional integration

One of the main objectives of the EU’s interventions in Senegal is to enable it to take advantage of the integration of the West Africa region’s economies and of trade development. This objective is being pursued through support for the strengthening of regionally important transport infrastructures and for improving the competitiveness of the national economy.

For example, within the framework of the National Indicative Programme (NIP) of the 10th European Development Fund, the EU has financed the implementation of the “Support programme for the Accelerated Growth Strategy (AGS) and for improving the economy’s competitiveness" (EUR 10 million). This programme has two main components: “trade integration" and “competitiveness of the economy". Within this context, the EU has also helped co-finance the national company upgrading programme and the Senegalese growth programme for very small companies. Objectives were met with several exemplary successes in Senegal as a result of the EU support.

The EU continues to support regional and trade integration through the West Africa-EU Regional Indicative Programme for 2014-2017.

After the West Africa region, the EU is Senegal’s biggest trading partner. In 2014, 40.96 % of trade was with the EU, while Senegal’s two other major trading partners, Mali and Nigeria, respectively represent 14.5 % and 11.64 % of trade.

An increase in trade between Senegal and the EU has been observed since 2009, both at import and export level.

Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs)

There is significant potential for increasing Senegalese exports to the European market, judging by the balance of trade between Senegal and the EU.

Within this context, the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) could help Senegal to better take advantage of its potential, by contributing to its sustainable economic and commercial development. The implementation of such an agreement will enable Senegal to pursue its economic emergence.

The EPA between the EU and West Africa, represented by the ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] and WAEMU [West African Economic and Monetary Union], aims to strengthen regional integration and to better respond to the challenges of trade globalisation which ACP countries face.

The partnership agreement in the fisheries sector

The current fisheries partnership agreement concluded between the EU and Senegal covers the period from 20 November 2014 to 19 November 2019, and is renewable by tacit agreement for periods of 5 years.

In accordance with this agreement, 38 EU ships, primarily targeting tuna, have authorisation to operate in the Senegalese Exclusive Economic Zone, in return for the payment of total financial compensation to the amount of approximately EUR 14 million for the next 5 years.

Further information

The Senegal-EU cooperation policy is focused on issues linked to the protection of human rights and basic freedoms, democratic principles, the rule of law and fair access to justice, the fight against corruption and money laundering, and the responsible management of public funds. Its objective is to ensure an environment that is both transparent and democratic and which contributes to sustainable and inclusive development and growth. In the Emerging Senegal Plan (ESP), adopted in February 2014, Senegal reaffirmed its desire to protect human rights and basic freedoms and to strengthen the rule of law with strong institutions and an efficient legal system.

In accordance with Senegal’s development strategy, the 11th European Development Fund is contributing to the development of a sustainable and inclusive economy. Notably, three areas of focus have been chosen for the period from 2014 to 2020:

  1. Strengthening democratic governance
  2. Sustainable agricultural development
  3. Food security, water and sanitation.
  4. Support for civil society is another priority area of cooperation.

The total allocation from this 11th EDF for Senegal is 227.6 billion CFAF (EUR 347 million) divided into two phases: the first National Indicative Programme (NIP) covers the 2014-2017 period with a budget allocation of 131.1 billion CFAF (EUR 200 million). The second phase is scheduled for 2018 to 2020. 

Sustainable agricultural development and food security

50 % of the working population are employed in agriculture, and this sector represents the third largest budget heading in terms of public investment (13 % of expenditure). However, the sector only represents 7.1 % of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Support from the backers of funds like the EU should contribute towards establishing the infrastructure (roads, facilities, storage, energy) and inputs necessary (in terms of technical, environmental and management know-how and access to financing) to significantly increase the share of agriculture/sustainable livestock farming in GDP and strengthen food and nutritional security.

This will primarily involve:

  • Improving preventative action and the response to food and nutritional crises;
  • Improving the productivity of agriculture that is sustainable and resilient to climate change;
  • Facilitating market access and food availability;
  • Improving governance of the sustainable management of production factors and marketing of agricultural products.

Access to water and sanitation

The PEPAM (Programme d’eau Potable et d’Assainissement du Millénaire [Drinking Water and Sanitation Millennium Programme]), set up by the Senegalese government, aims to improve access to drinking water and sanitation.

Access to drinking water and sanitation in rural areas is a sector that requires an enormous adjustment since the gap between town and country has a tendency to widen (78 % water access rate in rural areas vs 99 % in urban areas).

The sector has been receiving ongoing support from the EU since the 8th EDF. This commitment will continue over the coming years since the water and sanitation sector has been chosen as a third area of focus in the NIP under the 11th EDF. The sum of EUR 65 million, in the form of a gift, will be allocated by the EU to the Senegalese State during the 2014-2017 period.

This will primarily involve:

  • Improving access and rectifying disparities in access to drinking water in rural areas;
  • Improving access and rectifying disparities in access to proper sanitation systems;
  • Ensuring the preservation of drinking water and sanitation infrastructure assets;
  • Ensuring the establishment of a mechanism for the sustainable management of water resources;
  • Putting in place the tools for sectoral governance in order to prepare the sector for a Contrat de Réforme Sectorielle (CRS) [Sectoral Reform Contract].

Despite efforts to stimulate the economy and provide basic social services, poverty and unemployment remain high. The decrease in revenue in some regions has eroded the resilience of entire families, plunging more than two million people into food insecurity (source: PREGEC [Prévention et de Gestion des Crises Alimentaires (Food Crisis Prevention and Management)]). The Senegalese population is also affected by climatic phenomena, such as droughts and floods. This situation, combined with a sudden rise in food prices, is making populations all the more vulnerable.

The Directorate General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) is financing the organisation of food aid and nutritional care for the most vulnerable Senegalese citizens. This consists of the provision of ready-to-use therapeutic foods.

The European Union’s humanitarian partners are providing support for health centres to treat severely malnourished children in Diourbel, Tambacounda and Matam, close to the border with Mauritania. The Commission is also financing food assistance in the form of donations in kind and transfers of cash to vulnerable families in high risk areas.

The humanitarian funds allocated to Senegal in 2015 amounted to EUR 10.5 million.

In Senegal, as in other countries in the Sahel, the European Union is advocating the “household economy” approach. By better understanding the ways in which households make ends meet, this approach ensures better planning and more effective humanitarian interventions, targeting the poorest segments of the population.

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