Senegal - Land, Climate, Energy, Agriculture and Development: A Study in the Sudano-Sahel Initiative for Regional Development, Jobs, and Food Security

Located in West Africa, Senegal is classified as a least-developed country that has historically had political stability and slow economic growth compared to the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). However, from 2012 onward, a new government has adopted new policies (infrastructure investments, liberalization of the groundnut sector and opening of the energy sector) to enhance economic growth and governance. Senegal thus experienced significant improvements in the period from 2012 to 2015. Future economic growth in Senegal can be significantly shaped by the energy sector regarding the recent oil and gas discoveries if the common resource curse can be avoided. The country is characterized by a poverty rate of 38 percent and fairly stable food security, with only 7.2 percent of the population being food insecure. However, some localized pockets of acute food needs remain. This is in part linked to agricultural production (the main source of income and labor), which depends highly on climatic hazards. Moreover, production resources such as land are highly vulnerable to climatic and anthropogenic factors. The country has a good access rate to electricity and safe water. However, access to electricity is unequal, with rural lagging behind urban areas. This paper’s objective is to undertake a critical literature review on: i) past and future dynamics in terms of climate-related events and their effects on key sectors of the economy, including agriculture; ii) trends in the energy sector; iii) land use and degradation dynamics over the years; and also iv) how the country has responded to these challenges and threats at all levels (policy, research, community and household). The review concludes with a brief evaluation of the main policies on agriculture, land use and climate change and a brief discussion on jobs for youth and women and the role of infrastructure in rural development.