Senegal has long been revered as one of Africa’s model democracies, one of the very few West African states with a tradition of civilian rule.
It's easy when you are far away to condemn Africa. Africa is a continent that suffered injustices for ages. We can go back to slavery, colonisation
... All this led to a situation of neo-colonialism ... This is a complex phenomenon and we, heads of states, are aware of it. Today this is our responsibility. Believe me when I say we will sort out this situation.
The country gained independence from France in 1960, and has suffered no serious upheavals since. It has an established multi-party system and boasts one of the region’s most stable economies despite high unemployment and poverty.
But this relative stability in Senegal is now threatened by the conflict in neighbouring Mali.
The presence of Senegalese soldiers together with the West African and French troops in the fight against Islamists in the north has raised fears of reprisal attacks.
This stability record is also threatened by is its long running separatist war in the southern Casamance region [since the 1980s] that has claimed hundreds of lives.
The government’s refusal to extradite former Chadian dictator Hissene Habre, accused of crimes against humanity, has also led to widespread criticism. However, Senegal’s president strongly defends his country’s actions.
Elected in April 2012, over one year ago, Macky Sall, who describes himself as the “best-elected president in Africa”, has placed significant emphasis on the fight against corruption and bolstering Senegal’s position in Africa and the global stage.
After coming to power, Sall stated his intention of making peace with rebels in Casamance, as did his predecessor Abdoulaye Wade when he came to power in 2000.
Will he deliver on his promises or is it all just a political facade?
On this episode of Talk to Al Jazeera, Folly Bah Thibault is joined by Macky Sall, the president of Senegal, to discuss the country's presence in Mali as part of the ECOWAS mission, neo-colonialism and the relationship with France, and Africa's capability in solving its own problems.