Food costs spark protest in Senegal

Hundreds march through the streets to demand action from President Wade.

    President Wade has announced an ambitious plan to tackle the food crisis in Senegal [AFP]

    Senegal imports more than 80 per cent of its rice, which is a daily staple.
     
    Many people say the measures taken by Wade are not enough to prevent rice from becoming a luxury.
     
    They accuse Wade of focusing on glamorous infrastructure projects to the detriment of his people's more basic needs.
     
    Inadequate measures
     
    "[President] Wade has to stop his prestigious expenses," shouted Ousmane Ndiaye, a 42-year-old teacher, as other demonstrators chanted behind him.
     
    "The measures announced so far will not get Senegal out of this food crisis," he said.
     
    Parts of Dakar have been transformed over the past year as four-lane highways and luxury hotels - most of them unfinished - began springing up for the city to host an Islamic summit last month.
     
    But behind the new palm-fringed oceanside highway, residents in its most populous neighbourhoods are struggling to contend with rising prices for basic utilities as well as food.
     
    "Water is expensive, electricity is expensive," said one female protester, utility bills stuck to her chest.
     
    Security forces monitored the demonstration but kept a low profile, unlike in Cameroon where dozens of people were killed in February during riots fuelled by anger over the cost of living.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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