22 February 2024, 11:00 - 12:15hrs (CET), Zoom
Unknown Waters – Senegal and the Presidential Elections

Three weeks before the election date in Senegal, President Macky Sall announced the postponement of the presidential elections – the first time ever that an election has been postponed in the West African country. The decision sparked violent protests in many parts of the country. Critics accuse President Sall of a constitutional coup, while at least parts of the fragmented opposition welcome the postponement of the election. Parliament has now set 15 December 2024 as the new election date. Sall, whose second and therefore last constitutional term of office officially expires on 2 April this year, is to remain in office until the election. The postponement of the election by almost 10 months and the de facto extension of Sall’s term of office further exacerbate the tense domestic political situation that has been ongoing for months. Only last year, months of speculation about a renewed, unconstitutional candidacy by Macky Sall led to protests; in June 2023, Senegal experienced the most violent unrest in decades following the conviction of the most promising opposition candidate, Ousmane Sonko, which also meant his exclusion from the election.

Senegal was long regarded as a beacon of democracy and stability in West Africa – a region that has experienced numerous unconstitutional uprisings in recent years. The Compact-with-Africa member is also an important partner for Germany, both in the fight against terrorism and as part of the Just Energy Transition Partnership. In the future, Senegal could also play an important role as a gas supplier.

How will the postponement of the elections affect the internal political situation in Senegal? Will President Sall try to hold on to power? How do these developments affect Senegal’s role as anchor of stability in a fragile region? And what consequences will the damage to the image of the former democratic beacon have for cooperation with Germany?

These and other questions were at the centre of the discussion to which the German Africa Foundation and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom invited you.




Welcome & Moderation:

Sabine Odhiambo, Secretary General, German Africa Foundation



Dr Mamadou Lamine Ba, Politician and Freelance Consultant

Alexandra Heldt, Head of the Project Office West Africa, FNF Senegal

Dr Gilles Olakounlé Yabi, Founder of the West Africa Citizen Think Tank (WATHI)


Closing Remarks:

Denise Dittrich, Desk Officer in the Sub-Saharan Africa and MENA Division, FNF Potsdam



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