Senegal's poverty status
Senegal has emerged as one of the most promising countries in the developing world. However, in recent years, with decreased growth in agriculture, poor infrastructure and longstanding under-investment, Senegal’s poverty status has become a top priority for both the public and private sectors. Currently, 33.6 percent of the over 14 million people living in Senegal live in poverty and 25 percent of children under the age of 5 suffer from stunting — down only a few points from a 2012 report.

The U.S. Government Global Food Security Strategy lays out a path to achieve targeted sustainable development goals to end global poverty. Included in this strategy is the global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future, which seeks to end global poverty using a strategic and planned approach. Focusing on targeting investments for maximum impact, Feed the Future works toward inclusive agriculture sector growth, gender integration, improved nutrition, private sector engagement and climate-smart development.

Senegal is one of the 19 focus countries selected to benefit from this strategy based on five criteria: level of need, an opportunity for partnership, potential for agriculture growth, an opportunity for regional synergy and resource availability.

Through collaborative efforts like Feed the Future’s public-private partnership opportunities, private businesses can work alongside public sectors to help improve food security, research and irrigation to reduce poverty in Senegal and other countries.

These public-private efforts have already shown progress toward ending poverty in Senegal. According to a document released in September 2016 outlining the program’s strategy through 2021, “Right now, the world is closer than ever before to ending global hunger, undernutrition, and extreme poverty, but significant challenges and opportunities remain, including urbanization, gender inequality, instability and conflict.”

To help ensure progress is sustained in developing countries like Senegal, the U.S. Government and private partners are working to make sure the impact of new programs are felt community-wide. “In the past, we thought our job was done when we taught a farmer how to plant a new crop. Today, our job isn’t done until we also help her — and her neighbor — learn how to run a successful business. We don’t want our impact to stop at just one family, business or community. We want communities around the world to see real change at a large scale.”

The new strategy also includes in-depth sections on the positive effects investments in science, technology and research have on reducing global hunger, ending poverty and achieving sustainability. Noticeable progress is evident in the number of farmers who have applied improved technology and management practices, rising from 1,226,119 in 2011 to 9,038,480 in 2015.

In terms of ending poverty in Senegal, 4 million new private investment funds were leveraged by Feed the Future to help end poverty in 2014.

Ashley Henyan

Photo: Flickr