Interview « We are the locomotive of the emergence of Senegal »

Babacar Diagne is president of the Senegal Business Council (CDES), an employer training whose mission is to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. That is more than 90% of local businesses. Senegalese General Enterprise’s CEO, Eges (civil engineering, sanitation and energy & services), delivers to ANA an analysis of the Senegalese private sector, key player in the ongoing transformation in the country.

Interviewed by Dounia Ben Mohamed

What is the mission of the Senegal Business Council (CDES) that  you chair?

Cedes is an employers’ organization that brings together micro, small and medium-sized Senegalese companies. 25,000 players operating in all economic sectors. Our association represents business leaders in national decision-making bodies, in sub-regions and internationally. Together, we are building a strong and vibrant Emerging Senegal today.

To accompany these micro and small companies means to contribute to the emergence of Senegal according to you?

We are the locomotive of emergence. And we, the Cedes, we are the locomotive of the emergence of the TPME in Senegal by our concrete actions. We are all convinced that Senegal will emerge by 2035, through a unifying fabric of Micros, Small and Medium Enterprises.

The particularity of Cedes lies in the fact that it is the only employers’ organization that targets micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. It should be noted that the fabric of Senegalese SMEs is made up of 97% of micro and small enterprises. And this is the mission we have given ourselves, to support them, by providing them with access to economic information, by offering them training modules to strengthen their capacities, to enable them to create more added value, of wealth, and so for more growth in Senegal. This is why the CDES counts on the participation of its members to put in place with them, the bosses of today and tomorrow, innovative projects and creators of massive jobs.

Our flagship project, MES, the Senegal Business Center for SMEs, we launched JOKKO PME last February so that our members could exchange knowledge, find and offer their products and services. We also offer AfterWorks to create business opportunities. Without forgetting our many B2B economic meetings …

It is for this reason that you took part last September in Rencontres Africa meetings , in Paris?

Indeed, I led Senegal’s official delegation to Rencontres Africa, as I did the year before. A participation that has created results. They enabled Senegalese companies, present last year, to form partnerships, and to have new markets in many areas. The French companies we met last year came to Senegal and we made it easier for them to access certain markets. That’s what we do here, a partnership where everyone wins. Through joint ventures, transfer of competence, we develop the import and export. Accordingly, we can sell Senegalese products on the European market with help of French companies and vice versa. Moreover, I would like to add that it is quite possible that, in 2019, the Rencontres Africa, will be held in Dakar. We are working hard to finalize this project.

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