April 2, 2019 / 3:40 PM / 5 months ago

Senegal president pledges action on environment during second term

DAKAR (Reuters) - Senegalese President Macky Sall said on Tuesday he would prioritize the environment, youth employment and women’s rights during his second term in office.

In an inauguration speech that followed an emphatic election victory in February, he promised “vigorous” environmental action.

“I’m calling on everyone to shape a new Senegal: one with cleaner neighborhoods... a zero-waste Senegal,” he said.

During Sall’s first term, Senegal’s economy grew more than six percent per year as a modernization program produced a new airport, slick highways and a city built from scratch in scrubland outside the coastal capital Dakar.

Oil and gas production from new offshore fields is expected to keep the economy buoyant in the coming decade.

But high pollution and rising sea levels have raised concerns about climate change and the price of rapid development.

Senegal has long been viewed as the region’s most stable democracy, with peaceful transitions of power since it gained independence from France in 1960.

But the two best-known opposition figures were banned from running in February because of corruption convictions that rights groups say were politically motivated. Sall denies those claims.

More than a dozen African heads of states attended his inauguration.

Writing by Juliette Jabkhiro; Editing by Edward McAllister and John Stonestreet

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