(Ecofin Agency) - In Senegal, the Kedougou region, located 700 km from Dakar, contributes significantly to the country’s economic development. The paradox, however, is that this region is one of the nation’s poorest. A situation that poses a security risk for Senegal, according to the Institute for Security Studies (ISS).
The Senegalese government has adopted a $1 billion (CFA600 billion) investment plan for the Kédougou region. According to the minutes of the Council of Ministers meeting of November 22, the program spans the period 2024-2026 and will optimize the region's mining potential for sustainable development and youth employment.
At the moment, details regarding the project’s implementation are unknown. The government only stated that the program is "in coherence with PAP 3 [priority action plan, Editor's note] of the Plan Sénégal Emergent."
Gold is one of Senegal’s main exports, and Kédougou, a region located 700 km from Dakar, the capital, houses most of the country’s industrial and artisanal gold mines. Despite its contribution to Senegal's economic development, the region is one of the country's poorest. According to a report by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) published in February 2022, this "gap between economic potential and poverty levels [...] fuels the population's frustration and sense of exclusion, making them vulnerable to recruitment by extremist groups."
In the report, the authors called on the authorities to adopt a multi-faceted preventive approach. This includes accelerating the formalization of artisanal and small-scale mining to reduce illegal exploitation and strengthen control over the gold marketing chain. State intervention must nevertheless be designed and implemented on a consultative basis to reduce tensions among the population and artisanal miners, the document states.