Why is Senegal spared from power outages?

In mid-September, thanks to the reforms implemented in the energy sector, Senegalese President Macky Sall received US$550 million to support the construction of infrastructure aimed at improving the country’s electricity supply, thereby virtually eliminating the risk of load detachment, which ended in 2011 electoral defeat of former President Abdoulaye Wade.

Committed to building infrastructure to improve access to electricity, ” Grants from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the US government’s main development fund, will help Senegal address critical energy sector issues “, has predicted Mid-September Mahmoud Bah, Acting Director General of the agency. In the background for Macky Sall is the desire to face the challenge of electrification and a engagement continuously against load shedding, repeated in July by the Department of Petroleum and Energy, which claims that policies put in place since 2012 ” Permission to restore electrical infrastructure “.

By setting the goal of achieving universal access to energy 2025Senegal and Macky Sall have embarked on a major project that may soon be complete.

If today there are still differences between the access rates to electricity for urbanized populations (94%) and rural (60%), since 2019 more than 71% of Senegalese have access to the electricity grid, effectively placing the country in the top three of the best electrified states in ECOWAS. In addition, despite the Covid, the development of the rural electrification rate remains on a positive dynamic: between 2018 and 2019 it increased from 43% to 54% and in 2021, corresponding by the Minister of Petroleum and Energy, it reached the 60% mark thanks to the cash mobilized by the government via Sénélec. The national electricity company has also pledged to further improve access for the rural population over the next three years as it plans to do soinvest An additional $58 million over the period.

In addition, there is the operation of the largest wind farm introduced in West Africa by the government in 2020, allowing 15% additional energy to be fed into the electricity grid.

Access to electricity is an ongoing demand from Senegalese youth, particularly since 2011 by the Y en a marre movement, which contributed to the electoral defeat of former President Abdoulaye Wade. Fadel Barro, one of the founders of this movement, tell : “ Our name naturally came up in the discussion. We said, “I’m fed up!” Tired of power outages against which Abdoulaye Wade’s regime was powerless and who had that anyway provoked real riots in June of the same year which hastened his departure.

While load shedding (voluntary shutdowns of supply to avoid a general shutdown) has no longer been a problem in Senegal since 2012, it remains outdated in many countries such as Congo-Brazzaville, where it has even become a “storm lantern”. The emblem the anger of the Congolese at the frequent power cuts. In addition to a low electrification rate (47% in cities and 5% in rural areas in 2020), the land experiences difficulties to provide the population with access to electricity. Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire, the economic metropolis, are currently the cities most affected by load shedding daily newspapers.

It is therefore a double winning bet for Macky Sall. In reform in the electricity sector, he met a demand from young people and received an unprecedented grant from the United States, which should enable him to provide his fellow citizens with universal access to energy in the near future and make his country a model for sub-Saharan Africa.

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