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Macky Sall’s fame is dented, however the former president did lots at residence and overseas

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Macky Sall’s legacy as Senegal’s president since 2012 grew to become extra complicated in his final 12 months in workplace. The 12 months was so stuffed with transgressions that they appeared to have tarnished his fame indelibly.

For some months he appeared to his adversaries and critics that he had third-term ambitions – not unusual in up to date west African politics.

A public outcry adopted his determination on 3 February 2024 to postpone the polls that had initially been scheduled for 3 weeks later. Then his deputies within the nationwide meeting voted unanimously to postpone the elections and lengthen Sall’s time period in workplace till December.

Learn extra:
Macky Sall throws Senegal’s democratic credentials into doubt

On 6 March, the nation’s Constitutional Council dominated that the delay was unconstitutional and that the elections must be held earlier than 6 April earlier than April 2 moderately, when Sall’s presidential time period expires.

In compliance, Sall slated Senegal’s election for 24 March. With that call, the hazard of an authoritarian drift in Senegal seems to have been averted.

The time has due to this fact come for a extra reasoned analysis of his eight years in workplace.

I’ve been an observer of Senegalese politics because the late Nineteen Nineties, doing democracy constructing for the US Data Company’s Africa Regional Bureau, instructing African politics to graduate college students in Paris, and commenting within the media on developments in Senegalese politics.

Primarily based on my expertise, I’d argue that Sall’s presidential phrases have made some financial, home and worldwide achievements value remembering now, in as of late of suspense and doubt.

For my part the legacy of Macky Sall has been saved. Or at the least that’s the way it seems.

Learn extra:
2024 Senegal election disaster factors to deeper points with Macky Sall and his most well-liked successor

What he leaves behind

Amongst his presidential legacies are main infrastructure tasks, together with airports, a greater rail system and industrial parks.

Senegal’s airports have been in a deplorable situation when he got here to workplace. The nation had 20 airports, however solely 9 had paved runways. Of their poor state, these airports didn’t appeal to the key worldwide enterprise flyers who may arrange companies and rent the nation’s educated workforce or collaborate with its revolutionary entrepreneurs.

Blaise Diagne Worldwide Airport, named after the primary black African elected to France’s parliament in 1914, opened in December 2017. The mission, which was began in 2007 by his predecessor, Abdoulaye Wade, was accomplished by Sall.

Positioned close to the capital, Dakar, with quick access by way of a contemporary freeway, it has boosted passenger mobility and freight transport. The nationwide airline, Air Senegal, is predicated right here. It reaches greater than 20 locations in 18 international locations.

Sall additionally constructed the nation’s first regional categorical practice, the Practice Specific Regional, an airport rail hyperlink that connects Dakar with a serious new industrial park (additionally constructed throughout Sall’s tenure) and the Blaise Diagne Worldwide Airport.

Sall additionally strengthened the regional airport hubs of the nation. He spearheaded the reconstruction of 5 regional airports inside Senegal.

The Diamniadio Industrial Park, 30km east of Dakar, financed by loans from Eximbank China, was accomplished in 2023. The park is a flagship industrial mission of Sall’s industrialisation technique for Senegal.

The brand new park is positioned on the coronary heart of a community of particular financial zones, together with Diass, Bargny, Sendou and Ndayane.

Enterprises from a number of fields, together with prescription drugs, digital home equipment and textiles, are organising places of work within the park, which is anticipated to fabricate high-quality merchandise that meet native wants.

The airports, trains and industrial parks are anticipated by Sall’s supporters to make an actual contribution to Senegal’s transformation from post-colonial peanut exporter to import-substitution manufacturing hub.

For my part, what Sall leaves behind is substantial, notably in comparison with the extremely controversial African Renaissance Monument of his predecessor Abdoulaye Wade. The 171-foot-tall bronze statue positioned on prime of a hill towering over Dakar, constructed by a North Korean agency, has contributed little or no worth to the nation’s financial system.

Sall has additionally made some contributions to Senegal’s fame overseas, positioning himself as a revered and influential participant on the worldwide stage. As president of the regional financial physique Ecowas in 2015-2016, he made enhancing financial integration the main target of his time period.

He additionally labored to construct nearer relations with different worldwide organisations, together with the G7, G20 and the African Union. Whereas chairman of the AU from 2022 to 2023 he lobbied for inclusion of the African Union within the G20, complaining that South Africa was the continent’s solely member of any financial discussion board of worldwide significance.

In his handle to the United Nations Basic Meeting, he championed the reason for the continent. There was no excuse, he stated, for failing to make sure constant African illustration on this planet’s key decision-making our bodies.

He emphasised the significance of elevated funding from developed international locations for local weather adaptation initiatives in creating international locations, notably these in Africa.

Sall’s administration of the COVID disaster, which reached Senegal in March 2020, was his first main check of management. Regardless of its restricted sources, Senegal outperformed many wealthier international locations in its COVID pandemic response, due to Sall’s management.

Learn extra:
Senegal’s web shutdowns are one other signal of a democracy in peril

Contribution to Senegal’s democratic custom

His necessary legacy might be his participation within the democratic custom of Senegal.

Firstly, he took on Abdoulaye Wade’s dynastic ambitions to call his son Karim Wade because the inheritor obvious. Sall then went on to respect his two-term restrict on the presidency. This implies he’ll quickly hand energy over to a successor, sustaining a novel and uninterrupted custom of energy transition in one in every of west Africa’s most secure democracies.

It hasn’t all been plain crusing. Lately, the temptation of energy appeared to have overwhelmed Sall. He began giving out troubling indicators of his need to stay in workplace past his constitutional mandate.

Then, after testing the waters and discovering public opinion was strongly against his violating the boundaries that he himself had imposed whereas within the opposition to his predecessor, he declined to current himself for elections. As an alternative, he endorsed the candidacy of his then-prime minister Amadou Ba.

However this was adopted by a collection of arrests of his most vocal opponents, specifically the favored social media superstar Ousmane Sonko.

Greater than 350 protestors have been arrested throughout demonstrations in March 2021 and June 2023. At the least 23 died.

Then got here his last-minute presidential decree suspending the election earlier scheduled for 25 February.

This was adopted by democracy protests and by violent police repression of city protests, which resulted in civilian deaths.

After protests, Sall made one other extraordinary about-turn. He introduced that he would respect the Constitutional Court docket determination, which denied him the precise to lengthen his presidential mandate and required that elections be held earlier than 6 April.

In doing so he preserved the system of checks and balances in Senegal. As well as, his determination to launch Sonko and his different opponents from jail and grant them amnesty has preserved the house for democratic opposition and civil liberties.

Sall’s legacy as a voice of Africa might supply him a lateral promotion from the presidency of Senegal to the seat of some worldwide organisation.


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