At the launch of the Senegal-UK Chamber of Commerce, held this week in London, panellists were upbeat about the opportunities for investors in agriculture
HE Professor CA Dieng, Senegalese ambassador to the UK, named agriculture, in particular fishing, as an industry where investors could potentially benefit from significant returns, as well as boosting the Senegalese economy.
Aliou Diallo, representing the Senegalese Embassy at the event, said that fishing off the West African country's coastline is a "main export product" with markets in Japan, India, France and Canada, and added that there was room for further exports to the UK.
Michael Amaning, representing Invest In Africa, recommended investing in the country's many infrastructure projects as well as leveraging the "huge opportunities" in agribusiness, using the example of cashews as a crop which could boom in Senegal with prices increasing by 30 per cent.
Investing in energy projects could potentially help the agricultural industry, which needs a reliable energy supply to be effective and competitive in the modern marketplace.
Julian Horn, development director, North and Francophone Africa, Lekela Power, works in the field of renewable energy in Senegal but reiterated the importance of developing oil and gas as a "complement to renewables because we need the energy mix". Lekela Power is developing the Taiba N'Diaye 158 MW wind power plant in Senegal, which will meet 11 per cent of the country's energy demand when it is up and running. He said that Lekela Power has been working closely with Senelec and, after 10 years of development, there is just one more permit to obtain before operations can commence.
Significant gas discoveries have been made off the coasts of Senegal and Mauritania, while offshore oil discoveries could prove an additional boon to the Senegalese economy.
"The new discoveries will boost strong industry [and have] a multiplying effect on the economy," Professor Dieng said. In particular, he said that gas reserves will be predominantly used for the LNG market and paid tribute to BP for their work in developing the Senegalese gas industry.