Climate action, social protection, pandemic response German support helps bolster Senegal’s crisis resilience

Press release 28 October 2022 | Government negotiations on development cooperation with Senegal ended on Wednesday. The German Development Ministry committed some 130 million euros to support the west African country in the areas of employment promotion, modernisation of the health system and expansion of renewable energies. The support helps bolster Senegal’s crisis resilience, enabling the country to better deal with the consequences of climate change, price shocks caused by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and pandemics.

Plane at the Leopold Sedar Senghor airport in Dakar, Senegal, with the African Renaissance monument in the background
Development Minister Svenja Schulze said: “The impacts of climate change, restrictions because of the pandemic and the consequences of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine are putting a heavy strain on Senegal with massive impacts for large parts of the population. At the same time, Senegal is an important force for stability in the Sahel region which is especially hard hit by climate change and conflicts. With a view to helping the country deal well with the manifold crises and be better prepared for future shocks, we are helping to create jobs that have a future, in particular for young people, strengthen well-functioning social protection and a health system that is able to prevent pandemics.”

Price surges because of Russia’s war of aggression, disrupted supply chains and the resulting increase in private household debt are a threat to food security for some 17 million people in Senegal. As it is, people in Senegal – as in many other African countries – already have to spend a much higher share of their income on food than in Europe.

At this year’s government negotiations, the German Development Ministry pledged to support Senegal in three central areas to help the country overcome the challenges.

Employment promotion and social protection for young people: Youth unemployment and –very much linked to that – youth poverty are huge social problems in Senegal. Each year some 300,000 young people come onto the labour market. Germany is facilitating the entry of young people into the labour market by promoting short- and long-term training measures, in particular in sectors that are important for the future, because they are needed to expand renewable energies in Senegal, or in the vibrant African creative industries. This is being accompanied by the development of social protection systems. Support is, for instance, being provided for the introduction of health insurance which is to be accessible also to people working in the huge informal sector. Around 98 per cent of Senegalese companies fall within the informal sector which offers hardly any social protection.

Modernising the health system: In addition, Germany is expanding support for Senegal’s ambitious plans to develop national vaccine production. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear how strongly many African countries, including Senegal, depend on vaccine and drug imports from abroad. Vaccine production in Senegal is intended to mainly protect the people in the country but is also aimed at ensuring regional vaccine supplies.

Supporting the energy transition in Dakar: Germany is supporting Senegal in its efforts to develop a clean public transport system in the city of Dakar. This includes promoting low-emission local transport, for instance public local transport in general, and more climate-friendly vehicles in public transport.

Senegal, which is currently chairing the AU, has been an important partner for Germany in West Africa for 60 years. At the UN’s General Assembly on 12 October 2022, the country voted against the annexation of areas of eastern Ukraine by Russia.

Minister Schulze says: “It is good that Senegal opposes the annexation of areas of eastern Ukraine by Russia. We stand side by side on this question and are working together to uphold international law and a rules-based world order built on freedom and justice.