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Senegal’s Presidential Election: A Turning Point for Democracy and Economic Growth in West Africa

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Senegal’s Presidential Election: A Turning Point for Democracy and Economic Growth in West Africa

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Senegal’s Presidential Election: A Turning Point for Democracy and Economic Growth in West Africa

Senegal—a nation long considered a leader in African democracy—will hold its presidential elections on February 26. In a recent and controversial court ruling, President Abdoulaye Wade received approval to pursue re-election for a third term in office despite a constitutional two-term limit. The decision has sparked public unrest and heightened discontent, although opposition candidates remain fragmented and unable to unify around a challenger.

On February 16, the Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings hosted a discussion on Senegal’s elections and their implications for democracy, economic growth and regional stability. Panelists included Mamadou Diouf, professor at Columbia University; Chris Fomunyoh, senior associate for Africa at the National Democratic Institute; and Vera Songwe, World Bank country director for Senegal, Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Mauritania. Senior Fellow Mwangi S. Kimenyi, director of the Africa Growth Initiative, provided the introductory remarks and Witney Schneidman, president of Schneidman and Associates International and a special guest with the Africa Growth Initiative moderated the discussion.

After the program, the panelists took audience questions, and the event was followed on Twitter via the hashtag #AGISenegal.

» Read “Around the Halls: 2012 Senegal Presidential Election — Africa Growth Initiative experts dissect the political climate throughout Senegal, including the country’s external relationships, the youth vote, prospects for democracy, and post-election outcomes.  

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