Warsaw – Dakar: The Cluster’s mission to Senegal

From 18 to 26 January, a delegation of the Polish Cluster of Construction Exporters composed of: Andrzej Czapczuk, PhD, Eng (F.B.I. T); Rafał Świstak, Attorney at Law (F.B.I. TASBUD), Rafał Lipiński (Seen Holding) and Marcin Filipczyk (SN Strukton) went on a trade mission to Senegal. The aim of the mission was to present and promote the Cluster’s potential, and identification of infrastructural undertakings planned by Senegal in the nearest future. The trade mission was conducted under the aegis of the Polish Chamber of Industry and Commerce in France, headed by Hanna Stypułkowska-Goutierre, Attorney at Law.

During their stay in Senegal, the Cluster delegation held a number of meetings with the country’s government officials and private entrepreneurs operating on the Senegalese construction market. The mission participants’ attention was drawn particularly to the project of a new city – Diamniado, whose construction site they had the opportunity to visit. The idea behind the new urban project, situated near Dakar (where nearly 25% of the country’s population now lives), is to “unburden” the overpopulated and facing increasingly clogged transport infrastructure Senegalese capital, which was designed by French colonial administration. The project not only plans modern urban infrastructure, but also gradual transition of capital city functions and government offices to the new city.

The PKEB mission to Senegal reflects the trends of Polish economic diplomacy focused on the “GoAfrica” initiative. The outcomes and conclusions from the visit indicate that Senegal should be of particular interest in the next editions of the program. The experiences from the mission also show that there is considerable interest in the competitiveness of Polish companies (given the potential of players from France, China and Turkey) and gives a real chance for establishing long-term cooperation.

However, the mission also highlighted some shortcomings in the promotion of Polish construction sector. One of them is the absence of a Polish diplomatic outpost in Dakar. Diplomatic relations are handled by a remote outpost in Rabat, Morocco.