There is a lot of competition going on in Africa now a days. From Nigeria, to Rwanda, and back to Senegal, governments are trying to set their nations apart from the next nondescript African country next door. A major way governments have chosen to distinguish themselves is through decentralizing and building more industrial cities. Anyone who knows Africa knows that most of the major cities are congested hubs with terrible traffic, pollution, and the truest kind of over population. Seriously, look at Nairobi! I sat in traffic for THREE HOURS trying to get from one part of the city to the next. Jobs, infustructure, schools, they are all centralized in the Dakars, Abidjans, and Kigalis of the world. But what next? Surely anyone can see this set-up is not sustainable.
Well the Senegalese government and the African Development Bank (oh and of course the CHINESE and the French) are looking to address this issue by building a new "digital city," in the Senegalese town of Diamniadio. Dakar, where a quarter of the country’s 14 million people live, needs to be decentralized and Macky Sall (Senegal's president) plans on doing so with plans to build a new airport, a university, and some state ministries in or around Diamniadio. Its a damn ambitious plan for a President who wants to stay President for a lot longer (Sall has pledged to double growth by 2020.)
Senegal has already inaugurated the "Dakar Diamniadio Toll Highway," an almost 600 million dollar project that is supposed to connect Dakar and Diamniadio, Looks lovely, wonder who built it? (ahem..THE CHINESE) Senegal's leadership, in it's attempt to become an African power player, will have indebted the country to foreigners by almost a billion dollars by 2020, leaving many citizens wondering when neo-colonial forces will leave the continent for good.