Opposition leader Bassirou Diomaye Faye was sworn in as Senegal’s president, becoming Africa’s youngest elected leader. 

Faye won a landslide against the ruling party candidate, former Prime Minister Amadou Ba, in a vote that pivoted on the frustration of Senegalese youth over a lack of jobs and poor governance in one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. 

About a fifth of the population is unemployed and more than a third of the nation’s 18 million inhabitants live in poverty, according to official data.

“I’m aware that the results from the ballot express a deep desire for systemic change,” Faye said in his inauguration speech in the capital, Dakar. 

“Through my election, the Senegalese people have engaged in the construction of a just Senegal, a prosperous Senegal.”

A 44-year-old former tax inspector, Faye has never held public office and was relatively unknown until late last year, when firebrand opposition leader Ousmane Sonko — who was jailed after being convicted of libel and his party was dissolved — backed him to run for president. 

He won the presidency less than three weeks after he was released from prison to run in last month’s election.

Investors had been nervous about Faye winning the election because of concerns he’ll change policies implemented by former President Macky Sall that generated average economic growth of more than 5% over the past decade. 

They’re now looking for details on the policies Faye will implement, including how his government plans to revisit contracts for oil and gas projects developed by companies including BP Plc, Kosmos Energy Ltd and Woodside Energy Group Ltd.

Those projects, which have been scheduled to start later this year, may result in economic growth accelerating to 8% this year — one of the fastest rates in Africa.


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