Monitor sentiment and consider contingency route-to-market plans in Senegal
Firms should monitor sentiment and developments around the election and consider contingency route-to-market plans in case unrest disrupts their existing routes. A key signpost could be a provocative, authoritarian action by the government, such as more politically driven arrests. Moreover, MNCs—particularly French companies—should stay alert to the increased risks of property damage. Lastly, firms selling to the government sector should be prepared for a turnover of public sector decisionmakers following the legislative vote, which could delay public procurement processes.
Voters will head to the polls for National Assembly elections on July 31, 2022. In March 2021, widespread protests against the arrest of opposition politician, Ousmane Sonko, were met with government clampdowns that killed at least 14 people. Amid the protests, some French-owned stores were vandalized. During local elections in January 2022, the ruling party, the APR, lost Dakar and some other key cities to Sonko’s Yewwi Askan Wi coalition. Part of Sonko’s campaign is built on stopping President Macky Sall from a contentious third term in 2024.
The APR’s poor results in the local election will give President Sall a sense of foreboding ahead of the July legislative election and the next presidential vote in 2024. Coupled with the authoritarian turn Senegal has taken under Sall, this increases the scope for more protests and state crackdowns ahead of both elections. As a base assumption, relatively contained pockets of unrest are likely to be concentrated in major cities such as Dakar and Thiès, starting weeks ahead of the July vote. Additionally, opposition parties are likely to form new coalitions aimed at dislodging the APR, which is likely to extend the ruling party’s loss of power in July and in 2024. This would result in a change in key public sector decisionmakers after both elections.
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