A NATION’S VISION FOR THE FUTURE, when driven by good leadership, becomes fruition. In providing direction for improved conditions, leaders demonstrate “change” — in effect, that status quo or “business as usual” is not an option. They create in the minds of those they lead a compelling picture – a vision, of how much better things would be if they succeed in making needed change.
Leaders build a team who buy into the underlying principle for the vision and agree to be led by it. Not always easy. Key responsibility of visionary leadership is to carry his team along to move the vision. With strong team, broad supports from echelon of citizens and society are enlisted. Opportunities are provided for broad range of interest groups and individuals to get into the dream vision. It is good to go.
That could be the case of Senegalese President Macky Sall’s government, as his leadership envisions the future of Senegal with new found economic advantage in the country “oil and gas exploration and export”. Tuesday, June 14, 2018, at Abdou Diouf International Conference Centre, 30 kilometers outside Dakar, Senegal launched a National Dialogue on oil and gas – in preparation to begin export in four years time – between 2021 and 2023.
The one day National Dialogue was attended by participants drawn from government officials, representatives of private sector, civil society, trade unions, political movements, women and youths, religious and community leaders members of Senegal’s national assembly, among others.
Macky Sall, President of Senegal, while launching the National Dialogue said: “As far as I know, Senegal is the first-ever nation to hold such a participatory national consultation on oil and gas”. Sall said there will be revenue-sharing formula, apart from annual allocations to national budget from oil revenue. There will also be stabilization fund for export earnings; and savings fund for “posterity”.
Bills to be presented to the National Assembly for enactment into law will capture the details, according to President Sall. He announced that his goal is to “wrap up the national dialogues and related processes by October 2018”.
About a year ago, May 2, 2017, Reuters, reported that Senegal was on the verge of an oil and gas boom. Newly discovered oil and gas fields are expected to begin production within the next decade. Companies such as British-based Cairn Energy and Dallas-based Kosmos Energy reported string of successful findings in oil and gas that could transform Senegal’s economy – that has been agric based.
Agreement to explore oil and gas off Senegal’s Atlantic coast, to boost the prospect of Senegal being a major oil development was signed by Total. Under the pact Total will explore in the deepwater Rufisque Offshore Profond Block where it will be the operator with a 90 percent stake and Senegal’s state-run oil company Petrosen will hold the remaining 10 percent.
The two parties also agreed to cooperate on exploration in “ultra-deep” offshore waters, with the potential for Total to become an operator. Patrick Pouyanne, Total’s Chief Executive’s statement said: “These agreements are part of the group’s strategy to carry out exploration activities in new deepwater basins in Africa.”
Other speakers at the one day National Dialogue, touched on creating refining capacity in Senegal to add value to exports of petroleum products; proper bidding for the award of oil and gas contracts; being mindful of the security implications of the petroleum industry; awareness of the environmental effects of oil and gas exploration and extraction, among others.
President Sall welcomed the suggestions from the National Dialogue and called for national consensus to avoid playing politics such national issue. He said his invitation for national consultations was designed to facilitate participatory process to safeguard the interest of the Senegalese people.
Sections of opposition in Senegal took exception to the one day National Dialogue. They turned down Sall’s invitation to participate in the national dialogue. The opposition said Sall’s government had already put in place structures as well as gotten into investment arrangements and awarded blocks to oil and gas prospectors, without prior consultation with Senegalese people.