Tuesday, November 04, 2008

How the credit crunch effects Senegal

National Public Radio's Morning Edition had a great story this morning on the effects of the global credit crisis in Senegal. Our snippet of the story will include just some actualities from people there. The audio of the full story can be found at the link below.

Despite many pledges from the United Nations and the World Bank that they will not forget the people on the bottom, some of the people questioned in this story doubt that the pledges will be kept.

National Public Radio November 4th

As night falls in Dakar, street vendors desperately try to offload a few more items before the close of business. Many are too busy to talk.

But Moustapha Diouf was keen to share his views about the impact of the global financial crisis on Africa.

"I saw one … an interview of one director of one bank here in Senegal," Diouf says. "He said the financial crisis would not affect the bank here in Senegal — in Africa in general. But … I know very well that this will affect Africa, this will affect Senegal in general. For sure … this will affect people like me — people who are here downtown selling things in order to go back to their home and feed their families."

Ndeye Sow, 26, hawks trinkets and traditional dolls up and down the streets of Dakar. She said she had been following news of the growing financial mess on the radio — then burst out with a litany of complaints about her immediate concern: the high cost of living in Senegal.

"What isn't expensive here in Senegal? Life is tough," says Sow, who has a 5-year-old son. She says fish is expensive; rice, too — even salt. "Everything has gone up in price in the market. Plus school fees, transport — you name it. Everything is expensive, yet no one has a proper job. We just can't afford to feed our families or send our children to school anymore. Every single day is a struggle."

Sow's concerns are mirrored all over Africa. She may not have a bank account, a mortgage, or stocks and shares, but that does not diminish her worries about trying to make ends meet. Crucial remittances are already down from Africans working abroad. They keep many families back home afloat.

The big question now for Africa is how badly it will be bruised by the global financial meltdown.

"It's becoming clear that many developing countries — African countries — will not be immune to the spillover effects of this global financial crisis," says former Nigerian finance minister and now World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. So, we consider that … particularly poor people within these countries are now in a kind of danger zone. And the danger for them lies in the fact that they're taking a hit from what I call the "Four Fs" — the fuel crisis, food crisis, the fertilizer crisis and now the financial crisis."

Other stories that we have posted on the credit crisis can be found here.

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