Macky Sall: EXPO-2017 will be successful

ASTANA. KAZINFORM - The world community marked the Africa week last week. Senegal is a vivid example of African country and culture. The capital city of this country is famous thanks to the worldwide known Dakar Rally, which is not held in Africa any more but the name remained the same. Since the moment of obtaining independence Senegal has avoided revolutions or military and political coups. According to experts, Senegal is an exemplary democratic country in the region, where election processes are observed well.

President of Senegal Macky Sall, who paid his first official visit to Kazakhstan as a representative of the first non-Arab African country this month, told about the prospects of bilateral cooperation, investment climate and the future of the African continent, regional organizations and Olympic hopes and political views in his interview he gave being in Kazakhstan.

Mr. President, it this your first visit to Kazakhstan. What are your first impressions?

Yes, it's my first visit to Kazakhstan, and I managed to familiarize with some of the achievements of Kazakhstan already. Kazakhstan has become a leader in many spheres and demonstrated the world that it is possible to change the economic structure and change how the country even looks like. It is easy to see the changes the country has had just by visiting your capital city. Astana is a vivid example for many world leaders what can be done if the goal is to create the most favourable conditions for the people of the country.

What are the spheres our countries can cooperate in?

During my visit I discussed different issues regarding our cooperation with President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. First of all, we can cooperate in the energy, oil and gas spheres. It is not a secret that Senegal has made a significant oil and natural gas discovery recently. Now we need to sign contracts in this sphere on the best for our country conditions. We hope for the assistance from Kazakhstan in terms of training and preparation of specialists in this sphere. Obviously, we have our national oil company and specialists, but we need assistance in terms of signing oil contracts in this sector.

Another important cooperation field is agriculture, which is what Kazakhstan has a good knowledge of. The agricultural sphere of Senegal is rapidly developing and there are a lot of currently implemented projects.

In regard to humanitarian direction of bilateral cooperation, it could be sport. Senegal is a country of a lot of big sports achievements. Our football players also play in football clubs of Kazakhstan. We also signed an agreement aimed at improvement of our cooperation in the sports sphere during my visit.

The positions of our countries on the main international problems are similar despite geographical remoteness. A good example of it is the adoption of the global declaration on building the world free from nuclear weapons on the initiative of N. Nazarbayev with the co-authors of the resolution representing 11 African countries including Senegal...

I thanked the President of Kazakhstan for his efforts he put for making Kazakhstan a nuclear-weapons free country contributing to the global system of security. We think that all the countries have to follow the example of Kazakhstan, because our planet does not need so many nuclear weapons. We have to work on the issue of alternative energy persuading the countries to follow and renounce nuclear weapons. We pay compliments to Central Asian countries, which are all free of nuclear weapons as well as the African continent, which, in turn, has been a nuclear-free zone since 1996.

I have familiarized with the document of the President of Kazakhstan Manifesto "The World. The 21st century", I have also familiarized with the initiatives he voiced at the Nuclear Security Summit.

I also know about the contribution of Kazakhstan to interreligious dialogue. It is very important to see the difference between the religious views now and in Islam as well. In this regard, the role of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation is very critical including the sphere of food security initiated by your country. Within this initiative Kazakhstan will also be the location for the headquarters of this organization.

Speaking of Africa, I think this visit will be a good start for establishing cooperation between Kazakhstan and African countries. I also invited Nursultan Nazarbayev to Senegal, which is like a gate to Western Africa. Thus, we encourage Kazakhstani businessmen to invest in Senegal and in Africa in general.

What are the conditions Senegal can offer for foreign investors coming to the country?

I initiated the economic developed plan, it is called "The Emerging Senegal Plan". It is aimed at our country joining the top developed countries of the world by 2035. The plan provides for 20 years. It will have three main directions. One of them is the necessity to increase the national production, and it's what we began to do in the agricultural and cattle breeding spheres, primary sector, development of the necessary infrastructure in order to increase the nationwide welfare.

The mentioned plan is like a sail directed by the captain of a boat. Thus, any part of the plan like preparation, education, healthcare, etc. has to be available for every citizen.

The third direction is the supremacy of the law. The supremacy of the law is the law for everyone, which is one of the most effective institutions including security, which is highly important in our world now when terrorism is spreading fast. In short, the third aspect of the Emerging Senegal Plan includes the supremacy of the law, justice, democracy, security which is the third pillar of the plan.

We have achieved certain results over the last two years. The GDP has increased from 1.7% up to 6.5%. Moreover, Senegal is one of three African countries to register a 6% economic growth. To be precise we are second in this regard on the African continent.

Therefore, we continue to exert efforts in the sphere of private investments along with state investments, infrastructure, energy, agriculture, development of human resources, education, healthcare and democracy and the supremacy of the law.

We need to persuade our businessmen to invest in Senegal now. We can show all our potential, investment policy, common Tax Code, we can also offer a lot of referential conditions that we created based on the recommendations of the World Bank. In short, Senegal now is a country with no risks fro investors.

What will the pavilion of Senegal at Astana EXPO-2017 look like?

I welcome the initiative of Kazakhstan to host the EXPO-2017. In 2015, I visited our pavilion at the EXPO Milano where I assured myself that the EXPO-2017 will be held successfully. To my mind, President Nursultan Nazarbayev wanted to give a new impulse and a new vision of his country. Senegal will definitely participate in this exposition. Using this opportunity, I would like to thank the leadership of Kazakhstan for the support it renders to the African countries, because your country almost assumed responsibility for Senegal’s attendance in the African pavilion. It is a big gesture of solidarity which we welcome and due to this support and by act of God, we will be able to partake in this remarkable event.

Senegal is very active in regional policy. Could you tell please about the ECOWAS community your country presides in?

ECOWAS (The Economic Community of West African States) is an economic community of 15 western African states. They form a community with common customs tariffs and policy as well as a common market for more than 300 people living in these countries. Therefore, the presence of enterprises in Senegal will enable these companies to produce goods and services on its territory and sell them to all 300 mln residents. Thus, the ECOWAS is a free turnover of goods in the zone and, of course, an opportunity for investments.

Moreover, ECOWAS is an only union in Africa which has an allied peacekeeping contingent, joint Parliament, Court and an investment bank.

Senegal has been among the non-permanent members of the UN Security Council for three times. Kazakhstan offered its candidacy for this position for years 2017-2018. In case of our election, can we adopt something from Senegalese experience?

First of all, let me thank Kazakhstan which earlier backed out candidacy for joining the non-permanent members of the UN Security Council. Certainly, if Kazakhstan enters such high sphere as the UN, the UN Security Council, Senegal will, undoubtedly, share its diplomatic experience in this issue.
Acсording to experts, Africa is a continent of future. What future do you predict for the African continent?

Indeed, Africa is not only future, but also the present. There is no future without the present. Today, the population of Africa exceeds 800 mln people and approaches one billion. Namely now is the most favorable moment for business opportunities. Namely now we should be in Africa in order to hold firm positions for future. In my opinion, investing in Africa is a chance for success in future. For this reason, I am calling Kazakhstani businessmen to come to Senegal and Africa and take their positions for future.

Recently, a representative of Senegal, Ms. Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura was appointed Secretary General of the FIFA…

Senegal is a country of football, although it has never won the Cup of African Nations. We have trained generations of talented world-class footballers at all levels, like El Hadji Ousseynou Diouf, Henri Camara, Khalilou Fadiga. We are a sports-oriented country.

We were lucky, of course, that a Senegalese woman was nominated as the FIFA Secretary General. This is a great achievement, because, this it is the first time, when a woman assumes such a high position. The appointment of Fatma Samoura symbolizes a lot. She represents women; she represents Senegal, Africa and the UN. Thus, we expect a lot from this appointment and wish her a successful mission.

And what are the chances of the Senegalese athletes at the Rio-2016 Olympics?

It is quite difficult to predict something, but, in my opinion, we will earn medals in football, and probably, in track and field events. I hope for successful performance of our sportsmen.

You are a top-level politician. In your opinion, what qualities must a modern politician have?

Thank you for the compliment! A political leader must work hard and possess proper qualities to serve his nation. However, it is impossible to do everything alone. A politician needs a team of motivated people sharing a common goal. In this case only, the political leader will be able to implement his projects. Worldly wisdom is important for politicians too.

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