Extremist Threat to Senegal: A 12 Month Outlook


    Senegal is bordered by areas exposed to extremist violence. So far, the country has managed to escape the trend of extremist violence which has plagued west Africa. The ability of Senegal to continue doing so rests on its ability to manage its economy, sustain its development and collaborate effectively with the wider African security architecture. Previous expectations in regard to the Casamance rebellion are improving. The overall picture for Senegal, both politically and economically, is positive. 

    KJ-1: It is unlikely that Senegal will suffer from widespread extremist violence in the next 12 months

    • Following the French departure from Mali, French military assets remained active in Senegal [source]. 
    • Security services successfully thwarted an attempt by Boko Haram to establish a terror cell in Senegal. Mahktar Diokhané was detained in Niger and relieved of $20,000, intended to be used to finance the cell [source]. 
    • Several dozen individuals under suspicion of cooperation with Boko Haram are also in custody [source]. 
    • Senegal’s Muslim majority population subscribe to the Sufi branch of Islam, widely seen as non-conducive to extremist views [source]. 
    • Senegalese nationals have confirmed links with IS and al-Qaeda-linked groups. These individuals were since arrested, charged and imprisoned [source]. 
    • In light of the extremist threat from Mali, Senegal enhanced interagency cooperation and strengthen its anti-terror laws [source]. 
    • Several public opinion polls conducted in Senegal show a widespread distaste for Islamic extremism [source]. 

    KJ-2: It is highly likely that Senegal’s economy will see a moderate improvement in the next 12 months.

    • Senegal’s GDP growth rate is expected to rebound to 8% by 2023 [source]. 
    • Senegal has experienced significantly lower rates of inflation compared to its neighbours. Moreover, inflation is projected to decrease to 2.2% by 2023 [source]. 
    • As a result of higher government revenues in 2021, the fiscal deficit lowered in 2022. The debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to decrease by 2032 as well. As such, the risk of debt-related distress remains moderate [source]. 
    • Agricultural growth slowed to 4.6% growth in 2021, following a spike of 23.4% in 2020 [source]. In order to address the issue, the African Development Bank approved a €121 million loan in July [source]. 
    • A number of highly important oil and gas projects will begin in 2023, thereby boosting the country’s GDP growth rate [source].

    KJ-3: It is highly likely that Senegal will successfully resolve the Casamance rebellion within the next 12 months.

    • The government launched an offensive against the group in March, specifically targeting the faction led by Salif Sadio [source]. 
    • Following the offensive, the government signed a peace deal with the MFDC in August [source].
    • While the deal is welcome news, hardliner factions continue to persist in Senegal’s border regions, displacing more than 6,000 people [source]. 
    • Many residents of Casamance harbour mistrust and fear of the central government, due to years of human rights abuses [source]. 
    • The government instituted security reforms aimed at placating the situation. Security operations shifted from the military to local gendarmeries [source]. 
    • Community outreach efforts decreased political hostilities between rival local leaders in January [source]. 
    • Police and gendarmes reported an increased willingness by local residents in reporting crimes and security concerns, an improvement from the last few years [source].
    • In a gesture of goodwill, residents of Goudomp assisted in the construction of a local gendarmerie post and provided the necessary electronic equipment to facilitate the role of the security services [source]. 
    • This process of community cooperation and outreach was repeated in at least 6 separate towns neighbouring Goudomp [source].

    Intelligence Cut-Off Date: September 15, 2022

    Alec Smith
    Alec Smith
    Alec Smith is a graduate of the MSC International Relations program of the University of Aberdeen and holds an LLB in Global Law from Tilburg University. He works in the private sector in field investigations and security.

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