Dr Bandar Hajjar, Chairman of the Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB Group), stated that IsDB Group is currently implementing 80 development projects in Senegal worth US$2.6 billion, and that the Group has so far completed 143 projects worth US$1 billion, bringing the total volume of IsDB projects in Senegal to US$3.6 billion, including US$2.4 billion for IsDB projects and contributions from IsDB Group institutions. These include US$740 million from the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), US$147 million from the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), in addition to other financings amounting to US$311 million. Dr Hajjar said the sectors that received the most IsDB financing were energy, transport, agriculture, water and sanitation, finance, industry and mining, health, education and public administration.
Emphasising the strong relationship between the two sides, Dr Hajjar explained that the IsDB has a regional centre in Dakar serving Senegal as well as Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone and the Gambia.
He said that the partnership with Senegal was excellent and multi-form. For example, last December, Senegal hosted the Second Science, Technology and Innovation Conference at the invitation of the President of the Republic. This reflects the Government's commitment to the role of science, technology and innovation in finding solutions to development challenges, increasing the economic growth rate and supporting entrepreneurs and innovators.
With respect to the Bank’s contribution to helping Senegal contain the impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Chairman of the IsDB Group held a virtual meeting with Amadou Hott, the Senegalese Minister of the Economy, Planning and Cooperation. The meeting discussed IsDB Group’s support for Senegal with US$133 million to respond to Covid-19, including US$5.52 million for the Pasteur Institute project in Dakar, which works on infection detection and prevention, US$43.34 million for the health sector promotion project, and US$84 million to provide food baskets for approximately 1 million households, or roughly 8 million people.
Dr Bandar Hajjar praised the great support that the IsDB HQ country, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, continued to provide to the Bank, stating that the Kingdom, which holds approximately one quarter of the Bank’s capital, has been contributing generously to enhancing the Group’s ability to access the Least Developed Member Countries (LDMCs) in order to promote socio-economic development, fight poverty and unemployment and provide job opportunities in these countries. This embodies the spirit of Islamic solidarity which is one the main objectives of the IsDB Group.
Answering a question about the development impact of the Bank’s contributions in Senegal, the President said that the Bank’s contributions were consistent with the country's development needs and national development plans. He added that the IsDB Group financing contributed directly to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG1 “No Poverty”, SDG2 “Zero Hunger”, SDG3 “Good Health and Well-being”, SDG4 “Quality Education”, SDG6 “Clean Water”, SDG7 “Clean Energy”, SDG8 “Decent Work and Economic Growth” and SDG9 “Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure”.
Dr Hajjar said that IsDB projects in Senegal contributed to the following:
1. Increasing crop production by 605,000 tonnes.
2. Building over 1,200 classrooms and student housing facilities.
3. Facilitating access to drinking water for over 1.2 million households.
4. Connecting nearly 15,000 households with electricity.
5. Building 461 km of roads.
6. Creating approximately 5,000 job opportunities.
Concerning the partnership strategy with Senegal, the President said that in 2012 the IsDB approved the Member Country Partnership Strategy (MCPS) with Senegal for the period 2012-2015. The strategy had two pillars: (1) enhancing competitiveness and (2) increasing agricultural productivity and enhancing the value chain. The plan realized and achievement rate of 118% for the allocated funding of US$ 800 million.
The President added that the new partnership strategy with Senegal was based on the Global Value Chain (GVC) approach in order to build on the country's inherent competitive advantages to accelerate growth, improve productivity and promote decent work. In this context, an IsDB mission recently visited Senegal to discuss the results of the value chain selection study with relevant citizens from the public and private sectors. The President indicated that emphasis in the IsDB strategy and the country's development plan was now on two main industries: agro-business and petroleum/petrochemicals and chemicals.