Macky Sall, who was inaugurated as president of Senegal last April, came to power amid massive discontent with his predecessor, President Abdoulaye Wade. Critics, including youth protest movements Y En A Marre (“Enough is Enough”) and M23 (named for a 2011 demonstration), accused Wade of failing to address core economic and infrastructure problems while enriching himself and suppressing dissent. In an address to the nation one day after taking office, Sall listed economic issues as being among his administration’s top priorities. “It is a matter of urgency in our cities and our suburbs,” he stated, “to fight unemployment, flooding, insecurity and pauperization. It is a matter of urgency in rural areas to take responsibility for infrastructure, access to potable water, electricity, and essential social services.”
Sall and his Alliance for the Republic (APR) are the dominant force in Senegalese politics, but the country’s economic troubles remain. They are now compounded by threats to Sall’s legitimacy, ranging from youth riots to contentious domestic politics to violence in the southern Casamance region. Complicating Sall’s task even further is the fact that he must tackle Senegal’s problems in the context of increasing regional uncertainty stemming from the crisis in neighboring Mali. ...
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