Senegal’s economy is forecast to expand 4.6 percent in 2014 from 4 percent this year as the government take steps to improve the business climate and shore up state revenue, Finance Minister Amadou Ba said.
“If the government accelerates the pace of its reforms and implements its new strategy, we could achieve very interesting results,” Ba said a written response to questions handed to Bloomberg News yesterday. Growth may reach five percent in the “medium term” and more than 7 percent by 2015.
President Macky Sall, who assumed office last year, has made spurring investment after years of weak economic growth a policy priority. He scrapped state institutions to reduce spending, ordered audits into public finances and started a graft inquiry into the previous government. The economy expanded 3.7 percent in 2012 and 2.1 percent in 2011.
The West African nation aims to narrow the budget deficit to 4.9 percent of gross domestic product next year and less than 4 percent by 2015, Ba said. The International Monetary Fund forecasts the fiscal gap will be 5.3 percent this year.
A simplified customs law will be implemented “very soon” after a new tax regime introduced this year boosted income, Ba said, without elaborating.
The government is also reviewing energy and land management regulations, he said. Under a 2013-2017 energy plan, the national power grid will be expanded and energy-production costs reduced as the government taps into a combination of coal, natural gas, hydropower and renewable sources. The government also wants to make urban and rural land management more transparent.
“A strong demand from private investors to access rural land requires an overhaul of the land law,” Ba said.
Senegal dropped 10 spots this year to 176 out of 189 economies in the World Bank’s Doing Business report, which ranks countries on how easy it is to start and operate a company. Mining companies operating in the $14 billion economy include Mineral Deposits Ltd. of Australia, which mines zircon, and Toronto-based gold miner Teranga Gold Corp.