Wade sacks energy minister

2010-10-05 09:22
Dakar - Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade sacked his energy minister on Monday as public anger grew over a new wave of power cuts hitting business and households in the West African state.

Wade replaced Energy Minister Samuel Sarr with his son Karim Wade, already the most senior minister in his liberal government and in charge of international co-operation, air transport and infrastructures portfolios.

"Now Samuel Sarr has been appointed Minister of State and financial adviser to the presidency," Wade spokesperson Serigne Mbacke Ndiaye said by telephone of a demotion that nonetheless retains the well-connected Sarr in a key government post.

Street protests have been mounting over the past week after the breakdown of two power plants exacerbated a longstanding shortfall of national capacity of between 30-50 Megawatts rising to 130 MW at peak times.

Utility company Senelec has sought to save energy with daily outages lasting virtually all day in some parts of the country, prompting the International Monetary Fund last week to cite the problem as a risk to Senegal's tentative economic recovery.

Separate shortages in cooking gas are adding to discontent over the power cuts. A group of protesters briefly blocked the main road in and out of the capital Dakar earlier on Monday.

Wade last month named January 2012 as the date for the next presidential election and confirmed his plans to stand again despite a dispute over whether the constitution allows him to have a third term.

The IMF forecasts growth this year at 4% rising to 4.4% in 2011 but cited risks including the weak global recovery, higher oil prices, and what it called "persistent electricity supply problems."

Senegal's 2014 $200m Eurobond traded with a yield of 8.16% on Monday, up from a 2010 low of about 7.705 touched in late August.

Read more on:    karim wade  |  abdoulaye wade  |  senegal  |  west africa
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