The "Days of the Senegalese Economy" organized by the Centre of Applied Policy Research (CREA) at the University of Dakar and its partners provided a forum for researchers and policy makers to jointly reflect on the main challenges faced by the country and possible policy responses supported by research findings.
"The Days of the Senegalese Economy create a bridge between the research community and trade practitioners. Their function as a forum for exchange of ideas should allow researchers to better integrate the concerns of policy makers and the government to take informed policy decisions that, once adopted, will shape the policies of the country for a number of years to come", said Abdoulaye Diop, Minister of Economy and Finance, at the opening of the meeting.
The overarching topic of this year's edition, already the sixth in a row, was growth and competitiveness, in particular coherent and effective policies that would stimulate the competitiveness of the country. The participants reflected on measures to be adopted under programmes like the Poverty Reduction Strategy or the Strategy of Accelerated Growth, and their complementarity and coherence.
CREA has conducted research on the competitiveness of Senegalese firms whose findings were shared and debated with the audience. The study concludes that in the market segment in which the Senegalese products are positioned, price is the most crucial determinant. For this reason, it is imperative to get the costs under control and the study proposes a number of avenues in this regard, starting from investment in basic services such as energy, electricity, water supply, to the development of infrastructure such as roads, as well as education and training of the work force. While the rate of exchange is an important factor at the moment and should be closely monitored, it is not the main determinant of the country's competitiveness. According to Aly Mbaye, Director of CREA, what now needs to be done is to integrate the various pro-competitiveness programmes under a strategic document. As many of the actions to be undertaken, be they training or the building of infrastructure, take time and yield a result in a longer run, he also underlines the importance of starting the implementation process as soon as possible.