Senegal Government Announces Two-month Halt to Dakar Coastal Construction

Wed May 15 2024
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DAKAR, Senegal: Senegal’s new government on Tuesday announced a two-month halt to construction work along the coast of the capital Dakar and the surrounding region, confirming measures welcomed by environmentalists.

Dakar’s Atlantic coast has attracted intense real estate speculation in recent years, with apartment buildings, offices and hotels being built at a rapid pace.

Many of the city’s residents say they no longer have free access to the ocean, while environmental activists have condemned the illegal privatization of the coast.

The government said it would establish a commission to verify the legality of permits issued for old and new properties along the public coastline, according to a statement from Prime Minister Ousmane Sonko’s office.

In late April, law enforcement officials said they had been told to halt construction work along Dakar’s coastal roads, but the suspension had not been officially announced.

According to media reports, work at many construction sites, including major projects, had effectively stopped.

But the suspension has raised questions in some economic circles because the construction industry employs a significant number of workers.

New Senegalese President Bassirou Diomaye Faye, who was sworn in at the beginning of April, has promised a deep break with the establishment embodied by his predecessor Macky Sall.

Last April, Sall signed a decree declassifying the 826-hectare forest, which was meant to hold back the encroaching ocean, to allow the construction of infrastructure projects, utilities and housing.

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