Senegal on track for world-beating growth in 2023: World Bank

2023-02-21 19:55:42
Senegal on track for world-beating growth in 2023: World Bank

The World Bank predicts that Senegal will grow by 8% in 2023, the most out of any sub-Saharan African country.

The growth is largely attributed to huge oil and gas finds in the Atlantic Ocean, with one of the projects due to come online later this year, according to Aissatou Sophie Gladima, minister of petroleum and energies of Senegal.

The eventual production of oil and gas – after its discovery in 2014 – will turbocharge Senegal’s economy for the next few years.

“After slowing to 4.8% in 2022, growth in Senegal is projected to jump to 8.0% in 2023 and then to 10.5% in 2024,” the World Bank states.

This puts Senegal at the top of sub-Saharan African growth rates for the next two years, as the region is predicted to grow by an average of 3.6% in 2023 and 3.9% in 2024.

Other strong performers this year are Benin (6.2%), Republic of Congo (6.4%), Côte d’Ivoire (6.8%) and Niger (7.1%).

Senegal comes online

“We will start in 2023 with gas production,” said Gladima, while delivering the keynote address at the African Energy Week 2022 in Cape Town.

“There will also be exportation – some of it will be used for agriculture, pharmaceutical products, fertiliser and so on. This is part of the Emerging Senegal Plan. Apart from these gas and oil projects, we have quality energy, and stable energy at a reasonable price. That will allow us to create many industries and jobs so we can employ our youth.”

In 2014, more than 1bn barrels of oil and 120trn cubic feet of natural gas were discovered in the Atlantic Ocean.

The huge hydrocarbon finds led to a flurry of investment by oil and gas companies including British oil major BP and US operator Kosmos Energy, which pumped $4.8bn into the development of the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) LNG project – boasting 15trn cubic feet of recoverable gas reserves – set to come online in 2024.

Australian petroleum company Woodside Energy is also developing the Sangomar Field, 100km south of the capital city of Dakar, which has the capacity to produce 100,000 barrels of oil a day and is set to come online later this year.

“What is really boosting the economy to nearly double-digit rates is the development of the two oil and gas projects,” says Mark Bohlund, senior credit analyst at Redd Intelligence.

“There will be big growth in 2023 and 2024 and then it should drop off to around 5%. Before Covid-19, Senegal was one of the strongest growing economies in sub-Saharan Africa, at around 6% between 2014 and 2019.

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