Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Senegal: President Wade promotes neo-liberal policies
Leon Moorson of Queen's University Canada writes of Senegal and its autocratic leader who is the West''s man and promoter of neo-liberal policies.
President Abdoulaye Wade announced he will seek a third term in office sparking protests. In the first weeks of demonstrations six people have died. But Wade has served the west well so there are no news headlines condemning Wade and his new run for president.
At the same time as Wade made changes to the constitution that enlarged his own power he also opened the country to foreign investment. One scandal involving Wade is his commissioning of a huge statue outside the capital Dakar. It is 160 ft high and cost 27 million. Wade takes 35 per cent of fees collected from tourists who pay to view the statue. All the merchandising supposedly involves Wade's intellectual property!
While Wade has a strong ego his opposition is weak divided and often rooted only in narrow segments of the society. Moorson notes that the AU has become a springboard for neo-liberal policies in Africa.
NEPAD or New Partnership for African Development adopted by the AU is a means by which neo-liberal economic policy is being spread throughout the continent and Africa opened further to foreign investment. The agreement enshrines property rights for foreign firms, cuts taxe, creates tax free zones, and limits the rights of workers.
Senegal is often at the forefront of such reforms Interior minister Maitre Ngom noted that the World Bank ranked Senegal as the top reforming country in Africa and the fifth in the world. Of coruse the reforms have nothing to do with democracy just making conditions better for foreign investors. For more see this article.