Map of Senegal

Democracy, Human Rights and Governance

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A beneficiary of USAID Women's Empowerment and Civic Journalism project addressing a community in rural Senegal
A beneficiary of USAID Women's Empowerment and Civic Journalism project addressing a community in rural Senegal
Zack Taylor, USAID
In the run-up to Senegal’s 2012 presidential elections, Senegalese civil society played a critical role in drawing attention to the efforts of President Abdoulaye Wade to influence the electoral process and improve the odds that he and his family would retain power. An orderly, peaceful election day demonstrated the will and maturity of civil society and the Senegalese political establishment. USAID-supported international and domestic election observation, as well as technical assistance to electoral management bodies and the election oversight committee, helped to shine a bright light on the electoral process and prevent the occurrence of widespread fraud or tampering. As the returns came in showing Wade trailing his opponent, former Prime Minister Macky Sall, the President had no choice but to admit defeat.

With this fair and credible election, Senegal reinforced its status as the vanguard of West African democracy, and may serve as an example to other African nations with leaders seeking to entrench themselves. President Sall has committed to strengthening the independence of key political institutions and pursuing numerous reforms, including a negotiated settlement of the decades-old rebellion in the Casamance region. USAID is coordinating with other members of the international community to continue to support the realization of these reforms and the consolidation of Senegalese democracy.

Across our activities in Senegal, USAID integrates principles of good governance to promote government-wide transparency and accountability. Our work is aligned with the Government of Senegal’s National Program for Good Governance, which includes commitments to control corruption, improve service delivery and accountability at the local level, and protect human rights.

  • We work with the Government of Senegal to improve its internal processes for transparency. We also strengthen key national oversight institutions such as the corruption committee, reform commission and procurement agency to increase accountability.
  • We work with civil society organizations to increase their ability to hold government institutions accountable and effectively engage the public in improving governance in Senegal.

In preparation for presidential and legislative elections, USAID has provided support for voter registration for the general population and disadvantaged groups, electoral observation, and journalist training. USAID was also a key sponsor of a comprehensive audit of elections processes. The government is now implementing many of its recommendations in advance of 2012 elections.

We also continue to promote peace in the Casamance region, where conflict destabilizes a large section of the country and restricts stability and economic growth. USAID addresses the conflict directly through activities such as conflict resolution at the grassroots level, and indirectly through facilitation of high-level political meetings and dialogue.