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Senegal - China Relations

China appealed to African countries as a fellow developing country that had not colonized Africa, in contrast to Western countries whose legacy of colonial rule in Africa continued to color African views of the West. African consumers generally had a positive view of China because they now enjoyed low-cost consumer goods that previously had not been available or had been too expensive.

The Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Senegal decided 07 December 1971, in accordance with the interests of the two countries, to establish diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level and send its respective ambassador to the other country. The communique is issued on December 7th 1971, in Dakar. The two governments agreed to develop diplomatic relations, friendship and cooperation between China and Senegal on the basis of the following principles: mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-aggression against the other country, non-interference into internal affairs of the other country, equality and mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence.

Agricultural modernization is an important focal point of the Sino-Senegalese cooperation. China is an agricultural powerhouse that has advanced and mature technology experience in agriculture. For years, the Chinese agronomists assignments gave free training on gardening and rice cultivation in the suburbs of Dakar and the Podor region, which are highly appreciated by the locals.

China was not heavily invested in Senegal's natural resources sectors. China's presence in Senegal initially focused on the importation of Chinese consumer and industrial goods, including automobiles, and Chinese assistance for public works projects. China did not have a fishing agreement with Senegal, although Chinese firms did buy some Senegalese seafood, mostly "yet" (a large shellfish) and octopus. Likewise, China was not a large purchaser of Senegal's forest or mineral resources.

In 2007 there was significant speculation that a Chinese firm would become a major investor in Senegal's troubled and under-producing phosphates company, ICS, but in August 2007 the original Indian investor, IFFCO signed an agreement to become the company's majority stakeholder. The majority of the ICS output is exported to Indian interests.

During a 12-13 July 2007 visit to Senegal, Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Wei Jianguo expressed an interest in increasing Senegal's exports of fish, wood, minerals, and other items which are allowed to enter China on "preferable terms." Senegalese officials, for their part, complained about the huge trade imbalance between the two countries. Senegal Foreign Minister Gadio also claimed to have requested "reciprocal" treatment for Senegalese traders and merchants in China just as Chinese merchants are "welcomed" in Senegal.

Senegal has, in theory, sufficient laws and regulations to effectively manage trade and investment in the country's natural resources. However, Senegal has a limited capacity to enforce its laws or halt illegal exploitation or export of resources. It was more likely that the Wade administration would grant waivers to existing regulations, or promulgate new laws, in order to encourage new Chinese investment.

President Hu Jintao's 10-17 February 2009 trip to Africa was the highlight of a flurry of Chinese high-level visits to the continent in the first six weeks of 2009. In addition to Hu, who traveled to Mali, Senegal, Tanzania and Mauritius (with an earlier stop in Saudi Arabia), Minister of Commerce Chen Deming visited Kenya, Angola and Zambia January 12-19. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi traveled to Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa and Malawi January 13-17, continuing an MFA tradition of making Africa the destination of the Foreign Minister's first overseas trip of the year.

On all of these trips, Chinese leaders made a concerted effort to highlight China's assistance to Africa. During his trip, President Hu officially opened a malaria prevention center in Mali, visited Chinese aid projects in Senegal, attended the official opening of a Chinese-constructed national sports stadium in Tanzania and visited a Chinese cultural center in Mauritius. At an MFA briefing before Hu's trip, Assistant Foreign Minister Zhai Jun stressed that "none of these four African countries is rich in energy and resources, which clearly shows that China-Africa relations are not only energy resources relations."

The front-page story of the February 16 state-run Global Times hailed Hu's trip as "the first visit of a leader of one of the world's great powers to these relatively resource-poor African countries since the beginning of the global financial crisis, countries that have practically been forgotten in the West." Quoting favorable African media coverage, the article said "China will not toss aside its African allies during the global economic recession" and "considering China's large amount of technical and financial assistance provided to Africa, African countries should consider China its number one partner."

In 2013, the two countries signed four agreements on economic and technological cooperation. The Chinese government handed over the second and third phases of the stadium maintenance project. President and Prime Minister of Senegal attended relevant inauguration ceremonies separately. The fourth phase of the maintenance project and the construction of the Museum of Black Civilization were well under way. Efforts were made to speed up construction of Dakar Power Transmission Loop and Renovation and Extension of the Power Grid in the Region of Dakar. The commercial contract on the Highway Project from Thies to Touba was concluded. The two sides signed a note on tariff exemption for Senegal's exports to China under 95% of tax items.

For ten years, mutual political trust between the two countries continued to deepen their mutual understanding and support remain constant in international and regional affairs, and bilateral cooperation in the commercial and cultural also obtained abundant fruit. The volume of bilateral trade has maintained an annual growth rate supported by 30% and reached 2.3 billion dollars in 2015.

China was building the Thies Touba Highway and AIBD-Mbour-Thies Highway, with other projects in the pipeline such as the Bridge Fondiougne. These facilities will equip the "central economic belt" of Senegal a more efficient transportation system and complete and provide a strong guarantee for its economic momentum.

The first phase of Diamniadio Industrial Park built by a Chinese company began to take shape by 2016, with the second phase being prepared. This park has a good chance of becoming an important driver of industrial development in Senegal. Entered a mature phase of industrialization, China today has abundant and efficient production capacity and rich experience in the construction and management of industrial parks that meet the needs of Senegal.

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Page last modified: 07-05-2017 19:07:22 ZULU