Remarks by Angel Gurría
Washington, USA, 21 April 2017
(As prepared for delivery)
Dear Minister Ba, Mr. Nash, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am delighted to participate in today’s event focusing on the OECD’s ties with Senegal alongside our friends at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). Last year, the OECD and MCC announced a new partnership to leverage the synergies between the OECD’s Multidimensional Country Reviews (MDCRs) and MCC’s Constraints Analysis. And this fruitful partnership has blossomed! Later today, we will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further consolidate our strong relationship and support inclusive and sustainable growth in emerging and developing countries.
The OECD is grateful to MCC and to Mr. Jonathan Nash, Acting MCC CEO, for inviting us to today’s discussion. This event follows in the footsteps of a similar — and very successful — joint discussion last year featuring Mr. Daniel Duncan, Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire, on catalysing private investment. Today’s event will focus on Senegal, and we are pleased to welcome the Minister of Economy and Finance, Mr. Amadou Ba.
My message today is clear: Senegal presents many opportunities!
Senegal has been an example of peace and stability in the region. Since 2012, high growth rates have improved the lives of the Senegalese people. Senegal has increased life expectancy from 60 to 65 years (World Bank 2016) and has halved child mortality rates. And when it comes to gender equality, levels of discrimination measured by the OECD’s Social Institutions and Gender Index are lower than in neighbouring countries. Senegal has also adopted legislation on gender equality, extending the number of seats occupied by women to 43% in parliament (OECD 2014).
However, the challenges of sustaining growth and improving well-being remain pressing, especially when we consider that 38% of Senegalese live below the international poverty line of $1.90 per day. The number of people living in extreme poverty grew by 750,000 between 2005 and 2011. With focus, financing, and fine-tuned policies, Senegal can overcome these challenges!
Senegal is currently preparing the second phase of its national development plan, the Plan Sénégal Emergent. And we welcome Minister Ba’s thoughts on this. The Plan Sénégal Emergent is Senegal’s compass for becoming an emergent economy by 2035. The government is preparing ambitious reforms that will run from 2019 to 2023 and has asked the OECD’s Development Centre to support this process with an MDCR for Senegal.
Our MDCRs aim to identify binding constraints to development, and formulate country-specific recommendations to alleviate those constraints, based on international best practices. A special focus is placed on sustainability and inclusiveness to reflect national objectives and to integrate and implement the international agenda around the Sustainable Development Goals.
Today, I am delighted to launch the Volume I of our MDCR for Senegal: Initial Assessment. This report is the result of high level involvement from relevant ministries in Senegal, who worked in close co-operation with the OECD, under the leadership of our Development Centre. It provides an overview of Senegal’s economy and citizen well-being. Tax administration, education and state effectiveness are identified as key binding constraints holding back Senegal’s development.
Looking ahead, the next phase of our MDCR for Senegal will focus on tackling three pressing constraints. These three priorities were selected by looking at areas where Senegal is already progressing, and where Senegal’s government is already taking action.
These topics closely complement MCC’s work with Senegal. That’s why we very much believe that working together, we can — and will — provide Senegal with the tools and policy support it seeks to drive its own bold development agenda and reach emergence by 2035. Let’s get to work and let’s work together with ─ and for ─ the people of Senegal!