Bassirou Diomaye Faye’s Presidency: Shaping Senegal’s Future by Amber Liskey

Bassirou Diomaye Faye, a name that was relatively unknown outside of Senegal just a year ago, has recently emerged as the winner of the presidential elections in Senegal. His victory comes during a time of significant challenges and extraordinary circumstances in Senegalese politics. After spending months in jail alongside his ally and kingmaker, Ousmane Sonko, Faye was released unexpectedly just a week before the presidential election. Now, he faces the task of fulfilling the sweeping reforms he has promised.

The upcoming transfer of power could lead to significant changes in policy that will have a lasting impact on the country’s economy and investment climate. Faye has outlined a platform focused on government reform, economic localization and job creation, education reform, sustainable infrastructure, and national security.

One of Faye’s key priorities is to promote greater economic sovereignty and localization, which includes increasing local production, increasing employment rates, reducing reliance on imports and aid, implementing digital tax systems for increased accountability, and renegotiating contracts with international partners in the extractive industries. These actions could affect foreign investment, particularly in sectors such as mining and fishing.

Faye also plans to decentralize presidential powers and strengthen regional ties as part of his government reform agenda. He aims to adopt a more bottom-up approach to contracts with foreign investors to improve transparency. In the education sector, Faye intends to introduce English instruction from primary school and incorporate local languages, which could have a significant impact on the future workforce.

His infrastructure plans focus on sustainability and regional connectivity, potentially creating new investment opportunities. While Faye has expressed his commitment to honoring existing international partnerships that align with his government’s priorities, there may be a gradual move towards greater independence from traditional partners like France. Stronger ties within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are also expected.

As Faye assumes the presidency, investors and businesses should closely monitor policy developments and prepare for potential regulatory and operational changes in Senegal as part of his reform agenda.