DAKAR, February 19, 2010--Senegal’s president has called on France, the United States and other developed nations to increase capital for the World Bank Group, including for its private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
The move came during a meeting in Dakar with the World Bank Group’s Managing Director, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and IFC Vice President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Western Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Thierry Tanoh.
In a statement which was broadcast on television in Senegal, the country’s president also called for the replenishment of the International Development Association (IDA), the arm of the Bank which offers grants and interest-free loans to the world’s poorest countries.
“We need the Bank for the investments it makes in Africa,” President Abdoulaye Wade said. “No other institution can replace it. We need these investments in infrastructure, in production systems, in industry and other areas,” he said.
“The Bank really helps us in our development. We use these resources and there is a need for periodic replenishment. Knowing the efforts made by the bank, I am asking our northern friends to truly support a capital increase of the World Bank.”
In his comments, the president said that relations between African countries and the Bank “have dramatically changed,” describing cooperation between the two sides as “truly dynamic.”
“There was a time when our dialogue was more distant, but now I can almost say that we are working in close collaboration, in a climate of mutual trust that allows us to raise issues and speak freely,” Wade said. “It is in our interest to improve the management and transparency in the use of resources.”
For her part, Okonjo-Iweala said she was heartened by Senegal’s strong support for the Bank’s bid for a capital increase and for the replenishment of IDA. During her two-day visit to Senegal, Okonjo-Iweala also met Senegal’s prime minister and several members of his government as well as representatives of the country’s development partners.
In her talks with the government, the Bank’s Managing Director emphasized the importance of further progress on good governance to build on the positive steps taken on public procurement reform with the creation of the independent regulatory agency (Agence de Régulation des marchés publics), that has become a reference for the World Bank, notably due to its financial and management autonomy.
Okonjo-Iweala and Tanoh also took part in a public ceremony to launch the Dakar-Diamniado toll road, in Rufisque, 20 kilometers from Dakar. The road project is the result of a partnership between the Bank, African Development Bank, the French Development Agency and the French company, Eiffage.
The African Development Bank, the French Development Agency (AFD) and the World Bank will allocate funding to Senegal of approximately U.S. $234 million for the creation of the toll road while thanks to a public-private partnership, the French company Eiffage will invest U.S. $10 million.
“This is a partnership model in which players face all the challenges together and explore opportunities to achieve a common goal of development,” Okonjo-Iweala said.
The trip was also used for a signing ceremony between IFC, the Office National de l’Electricité of Morocco, known as O.N.E., and Comasel of St-Louis for the first rural electrification concession of Senegal.
“This project will be one of IFC’s first in rural electrification and aims by 2013 to connect almost 20,000 new households in 298 villages through a mix of grid connections and individual solar kits,” Tanoh said. He further emphasized IFC support to small and medium businesses, particularly those run by women.
During their visit, the two officials of the World Bank Group also held talks with representatives of the private sector on their role in Senegal’s economic growth. Senegalese employers' organizations and large private companies who took part in the meeting welcomed the World Bank’s support in improving investment climate and financing some private sector projects. The Bank agreed to requests for two meetings a year with the private sector to review their relations in Senegal.