Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Senegal Prime Minister Toure Commits to Closing Gap Between Rich and Poor

New PM to close gap between the rich, poor

October 29, 2013

DAKAR. — Senegal’s new prime minister vowed yesterday in her first policy address to parliament that her government would prioritise closing the gap between rich and poor, boosting economic growth and cracking down on criminality.Almost half of households in the struggling west African nation live in poverty, Animata Toure told the national assembly in a televised speech, with the problem accentuated in the countryside.

“We understand the desire of our people to live better, to meet their basic needs, have jobs and increase their income,” Toure said.

She said her priorities would be responding to social emergencies and correcting inequalities, fostering economic recovery and local development, and consolidating the rule of law and good governance.

“We have decided to accelerate the progress of our country into an emerging economy, a supportive and inclusive society that lives under the rule of law,” she said.

President Macky Sall promoted the 51-year-old former justice minister — seen as a party loyalist in early September after sacking the entire government, provoking a sceptical response from the local media.

Sall promised a raft of economic and social reforms after ending the 12-year tenure of Abdoulaye Wade in presidential elections last year that were marred by violence.

While the country has a long history of stability, its growth is below average on the continent. The president has repeatedly announced measures to lower the price of staples such as rice, cooking oil and milk, but day-to-day living costs remain beyond the reach of large swathes of the population.

Power cuts still cripple daily life and often fatal flooding in Dakar and provincial cities remains a perennial problem. Toure told parliament her government was committed to cutting the deficit and raising growth to six percent over Sall’s term, which ends in 2017, as well as reforming the justice department.

— AFP.

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