This is the only KPI Sunugal needs to “dieum kanam”. The Sunugal we need. The Sunugal we deserve. The Sunugal we want.

© Ahmadou DIALLO

Did you see it? Look closer.

No, I am not talking about the flag of Senegal! I am talking about the typo “Non Stress” instead of “No Stress.”

I guess the person was under quite some stress while writing those exact words.

Before we talk about this picture, I want to make full disclosure.

I am no specialist in Senegal’s political, religious, economic, and social areas. I have not lived there for the past 20 years.

I left the country in 2000 and came to France. I have been living here since then.

As I have turned 40 this year, I can say that I have equally split my life between the two countries.

I define myself as an “Afropean.” An Afropean is who I am, and we are legion. The Afropeans are like the cement that glues the two civilizations together.

With the recent events happening in the land of “Teranga”, many people ask me what I think about the situation.

In this article, I will share my view as a “SeneGaulois.” I will share what I believe are the potential root causes of what is happening there. And we will explore some solutions that we can implement to fix the issues.

Yes, I hear you. I haven’t lived there for 20 years. And you might be right that I have no legitimacy to speak about the realities that people face right now.

Let’s go back to the photo above. I took it at Lac Rose or the Pink lake, not too far from Dakar, the capital of Senegal.

It was back in February 2020 when I visited my family there. So I can say that I have a pretty fresh experience of the reality of the country.

Now that we are on the same page. Let’s talk about KPIs and how this one KPI is key to understanding the situation in Senegal.

A performance indicator or key performance indicator (KPI) is a type of performance measurement.[1] KPIs evaluate the success of an organization or of a particular activity (such as projects, programs, products and other initiatives) in which it engages.“

Source Wikipedia

I will let economics, politicians, and journalists talk about the KPIs as defined above.

For me, the key to understanding Senegal is the following KPI: a pyramid that is the cornerstone of bringing back the Teranga that was stolen from the Senegalese people:

1. KNOWLEDGE, THE SOLID FOUNDATION — Knowledge is the first brick of every conscious human being. When we can find the information, we can feed our mind and open more possibilities for us and others.

The As-Is Situation in Senegal

Getting the correct information is quite a challenge in Senegal. French is our official language. There are still quite some people who cannot write and read.

The best schools are private schools. They are mainly located in Dakar for the wealthy people, the Expats, and government officials’ children.

Public schools are underfunded, and teachers are not paid enough to work in decent conditions.

Outside Dakar, finding a good school is just a nightmare for any parent.

Books are costly, and libraries are more scarce than water on Mars.

The elite is the one withholding all the information. And they are not ready to share.

Bribery is the other national currency after the Franc CFA. Sorry, the Eco, which is supposed to be an independent currency from France.

When I talk about the elite, I refer to politicians, journalists, religious leaders, expatriates.

They are the ones who hold the keys to the library. And only a happy few can get through the door.

The To-Be situation in Senegal

We have to make information accessible to the masses.

For me, we can do it through 3 simple steps:

If people have access to energy at competitive prices, they can build new learning ecosystems. Information will be more democratized.

We need to decentralize the power from Dakar and build hubs all around Senegal. We have to give equal opportunities when it comes to education, not only in Dakar.

From Matam to Tambacounda, from Richard Tool to Ziguinchor, from Kouguel to Kédougou, knowledge must be like the air each child breathes, day in, day out.

2. POWER, THE ENERGY TO ACT — Once we have the knowledge we need, we must have ecosystems built to empower us as individuals.

The As-Is Situation in Senegal

Political power is in the hands of people who see it as a way to enrich themselves and their families. I am not saying that all politicians are corrupted, of course.

I am saying that the masses see how politicians can build houses and buy fancy cars just months after their election while struggling to make ends meet.

Religious power also has its part in keeping people in poverty. They play a crucial role in keeping people in place while sometimes living luxurious lives on behalf of religious rules.

Most of the time, it is a family business.

I know the key roles, the different factions of Islam are playing in the country. Yet, I believe that they contribute to cultivating this feeling of being crushed by the system and accepting it.

Economic power is in the hands of some families, some friends of politicians. Some happy few families own the most profitable corporations for generations. If it is not the case, the company is a foreign enterprise subsidiary, generally French people as a long tradition of “Francafrique.”

The To-Be situation in Senegal

In the political area, we have first to get rid of the massive corruption mindset gripping the system.

We have to hold people accountable about how and where they spend the money on behalf of the country.

We need more fair elections to introduce more diversity in the system. So Ousmane, a boy from Ziguinchor, has the same opportunity to be a representative as Salif, living in Dakar Plateau.

When it comes to the religious aspect, faith is great. Yet it cannot feed you when you are hungry. It cannot heal you, always, when you have cancer. You cannot pay your bills with it.

We need to hold our religious leaders accountable for their actions. They cannot just live as they see fit because they believe that only part of Islam’s laws they have chosen apply to them.

They are contributing to holding young people hostage to the poverty mindset.

The economic growth of the country cannot just be a stream out of the country. It cannot be a pie reserved to some happy few who are blinded by their gluttony.

3. IMPACT, THE KEY TO EVOLUTION — Only with power can we act. Only when we act can we strive to have a meaningful impact.

The As-Is Situation in Senegal

Most of the impact in Senegal today is a result of external actions or people.

We are proud of being the land of “Teranga.” Covid-19 has shown us that we could not only rely on tourism as a primary source of income.

We rely on external funds to keep our economy running. Covid-19 has shit the whole world down, including our last hope of an infinite stream of money.

Many young people don’t believe that they can have an impact for them or their family. So they prefer to seek death on their route to the west. For them, it is preferable to “waiting” to die.

The To-Be situation in Senegal

We need to build hope from the ground up. We need to empower people to change their environment.

We need more sustainable ways of giving people the means to act and impact. A first start must be a reliable and healthcare system backed by the wealth of our country.

We need minimum wage for all. People can breathe and feed their minds while building a healthy environment for themselves and their loved ones.

You may ask where to find the money for all of that. I say: Look into the offshores accounts of our politicians and wealthy people.

We need to help people earn more so that they can contribute their fair share to the community.

This vision above is the KPI I see fit for Senegal, a KPI around the 3 following building blocks:

As long as we are not building this pyramid into the Senegalese society, no amount of Teranga will hold people silent.

Covid-19 has just exacerbated what was hiding in plain sight. The reality of our country is that the majority of people are suffering.

Politicians might try to patch it with some rice and some bribing.

Religious leaders might try to patch it through some unshakable faith in God.

External powers might bring in some funds to keep their peace of mind.

Yet all those actions are in vain as they are just addressing the Senegalese society’s tip of the iceberg.

We are way beyond trying to fix the current system.

The only way to bring back the Teranga is to build a new system that will make the old one obsolete.

In that new system:

Knowledge is the only KPI we deserve.

Power is the only KPI we need.

Impact is the only KPI we want.

To free Senegal from the old system, I believe that we need to perform a paradigm shift with a new pyramid of values around knowledge, power, and impact.

This is the Senegal I need. This is the Senegal I want. This is the Senegal I love.

As in the picture above, I want my “Sunugal” back with “Non Stress.” Because we all deserve “la vie en rose” in Lac Rose.

A letter from an Afropean, a SeneGaulois to you, my sister, my brother, my father, my mother. Yes, I am talking to you who wants to bring back the Teranga on our beloved Sunugal.

What is your vision on what is going on right now in Senegal?

How do you think we can address the rampant, systemic issues?

What quick wins can we implement to bring back our Teranga?

Leave a comment below.

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🤎 Afropean 📖 Griot 🧙🏿‍♂️Mentor 💪🏿 Entrepreneur