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Senegal Opposition Leader Plans Sale of State Energy Companies

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Idrissa Seck, the main challenger to incumbent Abdoulaye Wade in Senegal’s February presidential election, pledged to seek private investors to revive the country’s ailing energy sector.

“I would repair and improve the existing energy infrastructure and then privatize it,” Seck told reporters in Dakar, the capital, Nov. 12. “The government will get out of the business of energy production,” he said.

A former prime minister under Wade, Seck came second in the country’s 2007 election, winning 15 percent of votes. Wade has been in power since 2000 and plans to run again, even as his candidacy has been challenged by opposition groups as unconstitutional. Seck is running as an independent candidate.

Senegal has an energy deficit of 164 megawatts, according to the national electricity utility, Societe National d’Electricite, known as Senelec, because of fuel-supply shortages, out-of-date infrastructure and problems in the transportation and distribution of electricity. In July, Senelec installed temporary generators with a capacity of 150 megawatts to reduce the persistent power cuts that sparked street protests a month earlier.

If elected, Seck said he would divide the industry into segments for production, transportation and distribution of energy, and then seek investors for each. He also plans to secure cheaper energy using a mixture of fossil fuels, hydro and solar power.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rose Skelton in Dakar via Accra at ebowers1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

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