World Bank Boosts Loans To Senegal

The World Bank has signed four financing agreements with Senegal to support key economic sectors, including natural gas, a statement from the government revealed July 6.

The Bank said the new loan is valued at CFA francs 306bn ($535mn) and falls in line with the government’s Emergent Senegal Plan that should help the West African nation better negotiate its gas deals with international firms. Out of the gas-dedicated funding, close to CFA francs 16bn (about $28mn) are directed at improving the government's negotiation of gas deals. The World Bank aims, through its initiative, to boost Senegal’s institutional capacities in relation to negotiations with multinationals. There is also funding (CFA francs 60.2bn) towards a new electricity link between Mali and Senegal.

Senegal expects to produce first gas in 2021, through a BP-Kosmos LNG project offshore Senegal/Mauritania, subject to a final investment decision being taken in 2018.

The recent financial support comes after the World Bank in May 2017 lent $29mn towards strengthening the country’s institutional capacity to negotiate oil and gas deals. At the time, World Bank director for Senegal, Louise Cord, said that the facility would help Dakar “better monitor oil and gas development and boost transparency in deals with international companies”.

In Senegal, some political parties and civic society organisations claim that deals between foreign companies and the government lack transparency. Some go even as far as saying that the government seals deals in this manner to favor some officials. Despite several requests, Total failed to disclose the signature bonus to NGW for its surprise deepwater acreage deal, announced the same day that the energy minister was summarily dismissed.

Last year the brother of President Macky Sall, Aliou Sall, a deputy and head of oil firm Petro-Tim, was accused of illegally receiving CFA francs 60bn (about $105mn) in a deal to sell shares of Petro Tim in an oil block to Timis Corporation; until now, the situation has not been clarified. 

Olivier de Souza

 


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