U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Senegalese Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Aissatou Tall Sall.
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U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on November 20th concluded a trip to three countries in sub-Saharan Africa including Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal. He was hosted by a number of high-ranking Senegalese officials and met with the Senegalese Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Aissatou Tall Sall. During a press conference with the Minister of Foreign Affairs on November 20th, he addressed multiple issues related to democracy, security, health, and regional cooperation. The trip comes at a particularly crucial point considering Senegal has an important mandate coming –it will be the next country to hold the presidency of the African Union in 2022.
As reported in the country’s daily Le Quotidien, Senegal was the only francophone country on this visit and the choice of visiting Dakar was made in large part to recognize the dynamism of Senegal’s democratic tradition and the strategic importance of the country in a region sometimes shaken by security and institutional crises. Over the course of his visit to Senegal, Blinken signed four cooperation agreements in excess of $ 1billion for projects in road infrastructure and public security. The agreements should facilitate the construction of several bridges in Ziguinchor and Tobor in Southern Senegal, to help create a commercial corridor linking Senegal to neighboring countries.
The U.S. Secretary of State believes that the strong economic cooperation that Senegal enjoys with the country’s neighbors in the sub-region is direct result of Senegal’s strong democratic credentials, good governance, resilient economy, as well as having a society that is tolerant, inclusive and peaceful. He stated that: “Senegal is in a very good position to help and contribute towards strengthening peace and democracy in West Africa and throughout the sub-Saharan African continent.”
The United States has supported Senegal in the country’s ongoing efforts to locally produce vaccines against the COVID-19 virus. Prior to departing Senegal Secretary of State Blinken visited the Institut Pasteur, a leading hospital and research center in Dakar which will be involved in the $3 million in investment to help Senegalese authorities augment their capacity to locally produce vaccines and help distribute them more readily and save lives. He noted that “even if we work on COVID-19, we know that there will be other pandemics in the future and must find the means to work together to put in place a global system of strengthened public health measures that can more effectively help prevent the risk of a new pandemic.”
Later at a function held at the U.S. Embassy in Dakar on November 20th, Secretary of State Blinken emphasized that Senegal and the United States had 60 years of successful diplomatic partnership. Noting “we had a really wonderful visit working with our colleagues, including H.E. President Macky Sall, the Foreign Minister, H.E. Aissatou Tall Sall, and a commercial diplomacy event with the Minister of the Economy. There are numerous American companies working on investments here in Senegal, and roundtable discussions with women in technology and business leaders.”
Secretary of State Blinken further emphasized that United States and Senegal are working closely together as partners to support and strengthen democracy in Africa and around the world, noting that: “countries like Senegal and the United Stated together can show the way. After all, in about twenty-five years, one in four people on the planet will be African. It is time to renew this global partnership, and indeed this starts with close partners like Senegal.”
The United Sates is currently one of the single largest international investors in Senegal and is looking to continue building upon the strong relationship between the two countries by pursuing closer cooperation in strategic sectors of the Senegalese economy such as infrastructure, energy and human capital development. U.S. investment in Senegal has expanded strongly since 2014, including investments in the power generation, industry, and the offshore oil and gas sector. The IMF reports U.S. FDI stock in Senegal was approximately $91 million in 2018 (up from $25 million reported in 2017.)
A number of major U.S.-based multinationals such as General Electric and energy technology company Baker Hughes are currently active in a variety of gas-to-power projects or oilfield services activity in Senegal, and working closely with the country on maximizing the potential of the burgeoning oil & gas sector.
The MSGBC Oil, Gas, & Power 2021 Conference and Exhibition taking place during December 16-17th, 2021 in Dakar will showcase the many new opportunities for U.S. and international investors to participate in the oil & gas and renewable energy sectors of Senegal, Mauritania, The Gambia, Guinea-Conakry and Guinea-Bissau.