Senegal is currently in a crucial phase of transformation: after President Wade lost the election and office and the peaceful transition in power in 2012, major expectations were focused on President Macky Sall. He began his term of office with promises of reform. Democratic structures have yet to develop further in any major way, however, and it remains to be seen whether sufficient consolidation of democracy will be attained by the next election and whether change will be sustainable.
Senegal's economic and social development has not been able to keep pace with political transformation to date. Senegal is still among the group of least developed countries (LDCs). One of Sall's most important reform projects as set out in the economic and social development programme Plan Sénégal Emergent (PSE) is decentralising and institutional reforms. In the electoral campaign, Sall furthermore announced that priority was being assigned to a solution for the Casamance conflict.
The task at hand in the troubled province of Casamance in the south of the country, which has been marked by unrest and armed conflict for 30 years, is to bring about a lasting peace. At the same time, Senegal, one of the most stable and geopolitically important countries in West Africa, faces the task of redefining its constructive role in internal conflicts in the neighbouring countries of Guinea-Conakry, Guinea-Bissau and Mali.
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) has been present in the country since as far back as 1976. It supports democratic and social reform processes, promoting among other things young, committed persons in addressing sociopolitical issues in its Jeunes Leaders programme.