Senegal: State distributes aid as global economic crisis hits

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President Macky Sall has announced "emergency" cash transfers to more than half a million Senegalese households to help them cope with the effect of the war in Ukraine and the Covid pandemic.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine at the end of February, oil prices have soared on world markets, driving a sharp rise in fuel and food prices in many countries, including Senegal.

"To provide solutions to the unfavourable situation, I have decided to support the resilience of 542,956 households to receive an exceptional financial cash transfer from the state in the amount of 43.4 billion CFA francs (66 million euros)," said President Sall, during a ceremony at the Grand Theatre in Dakar.

"The aim is to give 80,000 CFA francs (121 euros) per household and improve their level of consumption and the education of their children," President Sall added.

He described the operation as an "exceptional emergency measure".

The state will use mobile payments to transfer funds to poor households, the authorities said.

Senegal, a country of more than 17 million people has a minimum wage is 75 euros.

The emergency project is funded by the World Bank, with other donors including Germany and the United Kingdom, the World Bank's director of operations for Senegal, Nathan Belete said.

Senegal's economy returned to its pre-Covid-19 growth trajectory last year, but the war in Ukraine "clouds the outlook" for the economy, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in March in a statement.

The rise in global food and energy prices caused by the conflict comes on top of "the aftermath of the pandemic, regional insecurity and rising social demands in the run-up to parliamentary elections in July," Edward Gemayel, who led an IMF mission to Senegal from 9 to 15 March, said recently.

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