AFD has been operating in the country since 1942 and is celebrating with Senegal the longest partnership in its history in Africa. A wonderful exhibition held in Dakar this July pays tribute to the women and men who transform Senegal on a daily basis.

AFD and Senegal: a history as long as a human life. It is the longest on a continent where we today make over half of our commitments. These 75 years of life together between “Naatango” (partners in Wolof) have been marked by the continuous developments in our activities, which are now much broader than the role of banker in the first years. To celebrate this special anniversary, we wished to give a voice to the women and men who are building the Senegal of today and tomorrow.

From rural to urban development, the environment to water and including energy and education, all sectors of activity are represented here by key actors, who are models of citizenship. Examples include Amadou Gueye Seye, a “school rectifier” who fights to offer decent educational conditions to Casamance students, or Sagna Awa, who offers vocational integration opportunities to unemployed young people.

Through these fourteen portraits on show in Dakar in July 2018 (you can find out about three below), the institutions they work for are also showcased: the ministries, institutions, public or private companies, local authorities and NGOs we move forward with every day. These few very different paths symbolize all those who play a leading role in making development happen in the field, for the sole benefit of populations. 

Photos: © Layepro

Dakar, 75 ans, Bokar
Dakar, 75 ans, Fatou Ndiaye
Fatou Ndiaye: the source of problems
Fatou Ndiaye is like a long calm river. She has a peaceful nature, like the waters of Lake Guiers, the drinking water basin which supplies water to the majority of residents in Dakar. Yet this works manager at the National Water Company of Senegal (SONES), who has spent her entire career there, from 1991 to today, has already had several cold sweats and has had to mop up after a few burst pipes. The biggest one, which everyone in Dakar knows about, happened on 12 September 2013, at the drinking water pumping and treatment plant in Keur Momar Sarr. The capital’s water supply was disrupted for three weeks when a steel part broke just outside the plant.

Mrs. Ndiaye clearly remembers the demonstrations which flooded the streets following this accident. This break highlighted the shortcomings of the water supply system in Senegal, which is faced with ever-growing pressure from an ever-increasing number of consumers. “The population is growing and we are running behind demand”, explains Fatou Ndiaye. To address this crisis, AFD made EUR 10m of emergency aid available. The priority investments identified by SONES made the water production and transfer infrastructure of Lake Guiers more secure. The works are still ongoing. “We are currently changing the anti-water hammer system”, explains the manager. “It’s when we open the gates and the water surges with such force that it can damage the facilities.” The project, which will reach completion in 2018, plans to improve the drinking water service for 40% of water production.

Throughout her long career, Fatou Ndiaye has especially gained her experience in the field. “I like to go out in the field, see the projects”, she says. “The field is the place where things happen.” She particularly recalls the SONES partnership for the Millennium Drinking Water and Sanitation Program (PEPAM) from 2007 to 2015: “Thanks to AFD’s help, SONES was able to build sixteen water towers, boreholes and network extensions, standpipes and social connections for disadvantaged populations.”
Dakar, 75 ans, Amadou
Amadou Gueye Seye: From straw to bricks
Amadou Gueye Seye is what can be called a school rectifier. When he arrived, a young 22 year-old graduate from the teacher training college, in the small village of Mékhé where he had just been appointed school principal, the fifth grade class was in a dreadful state. No students had been accepted into high school.

“The families in the village were in a state of turmoil”, he remembers. With help from a few fellow graduates, he reorganized the school, created two new classes and worked tirelessly on getting the lessons back up to standard. Four years later, 17 out of 23 students were accepted in high school. This success deeply marked the residents of the village, some of whom became pharmacists or teachers thanks to him: “Up until now, they have kept very close ties with me. I regularly visit them during events, weddings and funerals. They are like part of my family.”

Amadou has contributed this spirit of solidarity, backed up by painstaking community work, throughout his career, such as on the many occasions he has worked with AFD. He holds a PhD in Geography and trained at the Institute of Geography at the Sorbonne and University of Rouen. He mapped the network of public and private schools in the context of the Education Project for the Dakar Suburbs (PEBD). This substantive work allowed better account to be taken of the needs of these schools.

Then, through the Secondary Education Support Project (ADEM) in 2012, he contributed to tackling class overcrowding in Greater Dakar, defining the most appropriate locations for the construction of eight new high schools and the refurbishment of nine existing schools. The project will provide 20,000 additional places for Senegalese students.

Since 2013, he has been the coordinator of the Basic Education Improvement Project in Casamance (PAEBCA). In this region, young people have to learn in extremely tough conditions. “Most schools are temporary shelters built with millet stems or strips of bamboo”, explains Amadou. “Lessons can only be given for seven months instead of the nine that are required. At the beginning of the school year, we have to wait until the end of the work in the fields to build schools which will be destroyed very early on by the rainy season.” PAEBCA is receiving EUR 10m of support from AFD and aims to replace these makeshift schools by building 30 schools in solid and durable materials.

Thanks to the project, 9,000 students will be able to go to school in optimal educational conditions. “All the schools will be equipped with computer rooms and laboratories. There will also be annex buildings with libraries, specialized rooms, wells and separate latrines”, adds Amadou, with an enthusiastic smile. There is still a huge task ahead, but retirement is a long way off for the school rectifier.
Sagna Awa Ndiaye: The wind in her sails
In her school, Sagna Awa Ndiaye has the aura of a benefactor who has turned discipline into a recipe for success. “Skills are not just about having your head full. You also need to know how to conduct yourself and especially be prepared for the business world”, explains the Director of the Vocational Training Center for Port and Logistics Activities (CFMPL). Since she has held this position, when the site opened in 2010, Sagna Awa Ndiaye has turned her school in Dakar into a model of performance.

“We have a labor market integration rate of 100% for our drivers and of 80% for all sectors taken together”. In Senegal, in 2017, the labor market had to absorb 275,000 young people, only 65% of whom completed primary school and 15% benefited from vocational training.

To overcome the mismatch between labor market needs and vocational training, AFD has allocated EUR 16m to the Senegalese State for the construction of five sectoral vocational training centers in the context of the Human Resources Qualification Project (PQRH). Car mechanics, agricultural machinery, construction, agribusiness, logistics and ports are the sectors covered.

With two ports under construction, Senegal aims to become a leading player in maritime trade in West Africa. “Young people know that the port sector holds jobs for the future”, states Mrs. Ndiaye. During the twelve years she spent at Colgate-Palmolive, she was responsible for the laboratories, then glycerin production, before ending with safety and the environment: “Port workers didn’t have any training. We had to deal with the handling of our ships ourselves and train staff.” So, when the position of Director of CFMPL became available, she saw the opportunity of changing the root of the system: “Today, a number of companies select our graduates because they are better. Discipline is the reason for their success. They are taught to feel comfortable in front of a jury, to write a motivation letter and speak in public. Even if they sometimes feel like they are in the army, they quickly realize that it’s nothing compared to the business world.”

The method seems to work. In 2015, the school was selected as one of the ten reference training centers in Africa by an African Union education committee. But for Mrs. Ndiaye, the satisfaction is elsewhere. More likely than not with these parents who can barely contain their pride as they see their child succeed: “You’ve completely changed him”, they say with joy. The best present she could possibly have.
Dakar, 75 ans, Aminata Ndiaye
Aminata Ndiaye, a strong memory
AFD? “It’s my destiny!”, says Aminata Ndiaye with a beaming smile. She has been working the longest out of all the employees at the Senegal agency, along with her colleague Abdoul Mbodj. She talks about her experience as a secretary, then as project monitoring officer, with the precision of an accountant: 32 years and 3 months of service, under 10 directors and over 50 projects conducted. An unfailing loyalty which dates back to 24 February 1986. “I remember the exact date”, she says. “These are moments you don’t forget.” A daughter of the Independence, born in 1960, Aminata Ndiaye saw her parents leave Saint-Louis with the move of the capital to Dakar: “I grew up with my brothers and sisters on the new Ouagou Niayes housing estate where families of civil servants were rehoused.”

Out of all the AFD projects which have marked her, she mentions the renovation of the Faidherbe, Syrnos and Malick Sy bridges, which are symbols of the bringing together of peoples, as well as the construction of schools in the suburbs of Dakar in 2005. The woman who is nicknamed “Mother Teresa” by her colleagues readily admits that she missed her calling. “I was set to have a social career”, says Aminata in a loud voice. She would like so much to plant the seed of knowledge on every ground. “In Senegal, even if there are achievements in the field of education, over half of out-of-school children are girls. If we want to develop a population, we need to develop its education.”

A precept strictly applied for her three daughters who she had to raise alone after her husband died in December 2007. “I’d just celebrated my 20th anniversary in the company. My husband didn’t get to touch my medal. He left before.” It was a difficult period, “but I have an unbreakable morale, a very strong personality, and my colleagues gave me a lot of support”. In the same year, she had to have a heart operation in Clermont-Ferrand. But bad luck will not stop her from laughing. “My cardiologist now disciplines me if I mess around and eat food with too much sugar or salt”, she laughs. “So, I’ve taken up walking.”

In March 2007, she created the AFD secretaries club with colleagues and became its first president. Her greatest achievement: the organization of a concert with Youssou N’Dour, which financed a rehabilitation center for deaf and dumb and physically disabled children and food for women in Rufisque Prison.

After a life spent helping her compatriots, at two years from retirement, Aminata has not finished yet. The arrival of a granddaughter in her first family made her want to open a crèche. But her colleagues are not going to get rid of her as easily as that: “I’ll come and see them from time to time, even if they tell me to stay at home! After all, AFD is like my second family.”
Expo Dakar 75 ans
Abdoulaye Ndao, skilled in portraits

The unique portraits published here of those who are making the Senegal of today and tomorrow are by him: Abdoulaye Ndao – alias Layepro – who was born in Lyon in 1986. He is a director and professional in the field of images and comes from a family where arts were always present. This graduate in information technology management very early on developed a passion for visual arts and especially photography. His works are midway between editorial photos, landscapes, portraits and adverts.

His style is mainly based on strong color contrasts and accentuated facial and body expressions. They are always combined with a conceptual touch. Abdoulaye Ndao is the author of the official photo of the President of the Republic of Senegal Macky Sall and has already used his talent for large companies. Abdoulaye has only one credo, dictated by a generous heart, his radioscopic eyes and his mind bursting with creativity: “Turn the ordinary into something extraordinary.”