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Large Energy Projects Look Set to Transform Senegal’s Economy

On the outskirts of a dusty village around 70km northeast of Dakar lies the largest windfarm in West Africa. Stretching across 41 hectares, the Taiba N’Diaye wind power project boasts 46 wind turbines and a total generation capacity of 158 MW. The facility, inaugurated in February 2020, will provide 2m people with electricity and supply nearly a sixth of Senegal’s power when operating at full capacity. A recent spate of oil and gas finds in the Atlantic Ocean straddling the maritime border with neighbouring Mauritania have put Senegal on the map as a serious hydrocarbon player. Ibrahima Fall, Senegal country manager for Invest in Africa, says there has been a flurry of investor interest since the oil and gas discovery. Yet the project is not without its concerns. One worry is that a hydrocarbon resource boom will lead to a “resource curse” of the kind that has affected countries such as Nigeria and Angola, detracting from development in other sectors like agriculture and manufacturing.