"Hunger Riots" in Senegal: A Pointer to the Current Governance Failure Notes de l'Ifri, March 2010
"Hunger riots", a stock phrase used to describe protests at the end of 2007 / beginning 2008 in around thirty countries world-wide, mostly African States, places different phenomena into one group. In this paper, we will focus on the case of Senegal, a country in which "Hunger riots" were numerous.
A quick inventory of these demonstrations proves, among other issues, the failure of the agricultural sector which, while it employs more than 60% of the active population, does not successfully feed the Senegalese population. Such an assessment leads us to question the structural causes, which cannot only be summarized by an economic approach. Also evident is a governance failure: addiction to imports, monopoly in food imports, the rural population overlooked in the last few decades in order to assure reasonable prices for the urban population, a segment of society feared more by those in power in Dakar. The deadlock is not necessarily caused by what you thought it would be.
Alain Antil is the head of Ifri's Sub-saharan Africa Program
This paper is published in French only : Les "émeutes de la faim" au Sénégal : Un puissant révélateur d’une défaillance de gouvernance