Posted by: Armel | April 9, 2008

ABDOULAYE WADE: A Different Kind of President

         

Here is a man that defies the politics as usual as the Presidents of former french colonies have been known for. Everytime he has the opportunity, he will often speak out against the status quo of economic policies in Africa. He spoke against the NEPAD, stating that they were just a bunch of bureaucrats that spend time travelling and staying in hotels, instead of setting up projects (source). He chastised France and the US for being against the rise in China-Africa trade (source). Recently, he delivered the most outspoken speeches against the APE trade agreements between Europe and Africa. He was the only African President who decided to talk to Mugabe after the Lisbonn clash with Angela Merkel and Gordon Brown (source). He even told Sarkozy to his face what he tought about his proposed new immigration strategy and quotas system.

Time and time again, he advocated using the tools at our disposal to either renegotiate or renounce any deal that was signed by African countries that now appears to be clearly unfair to the future generations. Whether this way of doing politics works better is yet to be seen in the long run, but at least the effect is undeniable. Senegal had been called upon to take the lead in many crucial talks especially in Sudan about the Darfur conflict. His leadership allowed him to get better terms in loans refinancing for Senegal partly because he will go negotiate these interest rates HIMSELF with the Islamic Banks, the President of China, the IMF etc…

Like I keep telling my Senegalese friends who complain about the enormous amount of projects Wade undertook as their President, other countries in the sub-Saharan regions are envious of projects. At the end of the day, there are substantial investments in major infracstructures in Senegal right now, some other countries (with higher GDP) don’t have any ! The role of most African presidents can be resumed as pure and simple FOREIGN DEBT SERVICING. There is no long term strategic plan to achieve any sustainable goal. Everything is all talk (a remix of old speeches). That’s part of the reason why the younger generation loose any sense of HOPE and feel obligated to go into exile for a better future. 

Update: To be fair, Abdoulaye Wade has had a series of corruption and mismanagement allegations following him over the years, so here I’m adding some recent comments from a reader closer to the issue.

“…Wade’s government has also been notorious for corruption… As people literally starve, and the food crisis mounts, the priorities of Mr Wade have left many wondering… This food crisis was forecasted, why then spend the enormous amounts of money hosting the OIC? Why reward government “officials” with 4×4’s very often, two or three times over? As people starve, they are noticing the growth in personal wealth of many government officials…   At this point to help preserve the democracy and growth Senegal has been known for, Maitre Wade will need to really put his money where his mouth is – and radically adjust the gross inequalities…”

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Responses

  1. So I am not an expert on finance and such, but Abaye Wade’s government has also been notorious for corruption… As people literally starve, and the food crisis mounts, the priorities of Mr Wade have left many wondering… This food crisis was forecasted, why then spend the enormous amounts of money hosting the OIC? Why reward government “officials” with 4×4’s very often, two or three times over? As people starve, they are noticing the growth in personal wealth of many government officials… At this point to help preserve the democracy and growth Senegal has been known for, Maitre Wade will need to really put his money where his mouth is – and radically adjust the gross inequalities.

    PS Like your site, I am recommending it to the business students I teach at ISM – Dakar.

  2. Sir, I really appreciate your comment and contribution to the forum. Before I wrote this post on Maitre Wade, I found some of the dissent you are referring to in several news sites. I didn’t mention (May be by mistake) those corruption allegations simply because it’s out of focus with the intent of my blog. I rarely write about political issues unless they are news breaking. I try to stay focused on the financial or money side of things.
    To be fair, I am updating this post with some of your comments if you don’t mind..

  3. If you lived in Senegal, you would certainly think and write differently. It is one thing making speeches and statements and another taking sound decisions.

    Nice blog though.


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