Strong energy foundations support Senegal’s ambitious plans to ramp up sustainable economic growth

Photo Showing Aerial View Of The Small Boats For Salt Collecting At Pink Lake Retba Senegal Shutterstock 1570960909

First-ever IEA review of Senegal’s energy policies finds that robust institutions and planning, as well as success in expanding electricity access, bolster momentum towards 2035 goals

Senegal’s significant efforts to develop its energy sector and deliver energy access to more people are laying important groundwork for the country to achieve its broader economic objectives, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). 

The IEA’s Energy Policy Review of Senegal 2023, published today, finds that energy is at the heart of Senegal’s 2035 strategy for accelerating sustainable development and economic growth known as the Plan Sénégal Émergent (PSE), or the Emerging Senegal Plan. The analysis comes as Senegal is taking stock of progress made between 2019 and 2023 and laying out its strategy for the next five-year period, which runs through 2028.

Based on consultations with a wide range of energy stakeholders and analysis of the latest energy data, the report identifies areas in which Senegal is seeing success, such as in expanding reliable and affordable electricity access, and provides recommendations to support the government’s vision for sustainable development, which hinges on achieving further energy progress.

Energy Policy Review of Senegal 2023 was launched at an event in Dakar by IEA Deputy Executive Director Mary Warlick and Cheikh Niane, the Secretary General of Senegal’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. Rita Madeira, the IEA’s Africa Programme Officer, presented its key findings.

“I welcome the conclusions of the review, which generally align with our analysis regarding the relevance of the directions taken by the Government of Senegal in the energy sector,” Mr Niane said. “It also confirms the significant achievements in terms of strengthening the electrical system, promoting renewable energies, expanding universal access to electricity, and establishing a governance framework in line with the best standards.”

The IEA and Senegal have fostered close collaboration in recent years. The partnership was further strengthened when Senegal joined the IEA Family as an Association country in June 2023. Both parties have demonstrated a strong commitment to work together closely on critical energy and climate issues.

Since the launch of the Plan Sénégal Émergent, Senegal has adopted reforms designed to attract foreign investment in its energy sector and boost participation from the private sector, while leveraging significant support from development finance institutions. The report finds that the stability of the country’s institutions has helped increase investment flows, although more will be needed to meet Senegal’s ambitions.

Senegal is also making large strides towards its goal of universal energy access. According to the IEA, in 2022, 75% of Senegal’s population had access to electricity, one of the highest rates in Sub-Saharan Africa. Almost 30% had access to clean cooking fuels and equipment, though much faster progress is needed to keep pace with the country’s population growth.

Senegal is a strong advocate for just energy transitions. The country has already met the wind and solar targets it established for 2025 under its most recent Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement, and it has joined the Global Methane Pledge to reduce the world’s methane emissions 30% from 2020 levels by 2030.

In recent years, the country has produced more electricity from renewable sources than from coal, with solar PV and wind accounting for over one-fifth of generation in 2022. It recently pledged to increase the share of total installed renewable energy capacity to 40% by 2030 within the framework of a Just Energy Transition Partnership announced in June 2023. This partnership could mobilise up to EUR 2.5 billion to support Senegal’s efforts to achieve universal energy access and strengthen a resilient, secure and sustainable energy system that fosters sustainable development and economic growth.

In 2024, Senegal is expected to become an oil and gas producer. It is currently pursuing a strategy to switch to natural gas from heavy fuel oil for power generation, which will help the country reduce its reliance on fuel imports and lower the cost of electricity and related emissions. It has also set up state-backed funds that will increasingly leverage hydrocarbon revenues to finance sustainable economic growth.  

“The IEA’s new report finds that Senegal has set a clear strategy to harness its abundant energy potential. This will allow the country to accelerate its development journey in line with the government’s policy priorities,” Ambassador Warlick said. “Crucially, Senegal is reviewing progress made so far and honing plans for the coming years. The IEA is very pleased to support this process and remains committed to this excellent partnership. We hope this report and its analysis provide useful insights as Senegal continues to lay out impressive energy ambitions.”