Launched by the Ministry of Urbanism, Housing and Hygiene, the start of this month saw the inauguration of a game-changing facility in the town of Kaolack, 223km out of Senegal’s capital of Dakar.
The Gambia-adjacent town of 172,000 inhabitants is home to the country’s first industrial scale waste to power plant operated by the Senegalese National Electricity Company (SENELEC) in partnership with the newly formed National Integrated Waste Management Company (SONAGED).
The waste to energy initiative is the latest in a long string of innovative, ambitious ventures launched by H.E. President Macky Sall’s government in recent years under his pioneering zero waste program platform, but the first to combine this cause with the country’s regionally leading pursuit of a 2025 universal electrification goal- bringing power to millions of residents currently deprived.
The Kaolack waste to power program is among the most streamlined, efficient and cost effective Senegalese sustainable development project launches of this year. With Senegal’s population consistently rising over 2.5% each year, the country’s generation of over 200,000 tons of plastic waste per annum was an issue on the rise, exacerbated by the fact that a mere 9,000 tons of the waste is recycled. Now, however, this 11.5kg of annual plastic waste generation per capita is to be directed to Kaolack and purposefully recycled through a thermal power station in aid of closing the country’s demand-supply gap for power.
The project holds special significance for Kaolack, previously considered the dirtiest city in the country, freshly rebranded as a national beacon for streamlined sustainable development amidst the green recovery. It’s not the first such project to grace the city’s streets. H.E. President Macky Sall’s launch of the Cleaning Day program on 4 January 2020 brought fresh growth to the rural town in the most literal sense: 250 palm trees and 100 flower boxes brightening up its alleys. In the fellow outlying town of Thiès, 67km from Dakar, 2 million inhabitants have also seen their living conditions drastically improved with a $46.83 million project rising 76 new waste collection and recovery facilities across 43 council regions.
The venture has been dubbed the Project for the Promotion of Integrated Management and Economy of Solid Waste in Senegal and is just the start of the transformational changes to be wrought under the government’s fresh zero waste program drives, the launch of the Kaolack waste to power plant accompanied by a 15-day monitoring and community consultation mission by the Ministry of Urbanism, Housing and Hygiene to derive further plans for community sensitization to and participatory reform of waste management.
In the end, though, neither waste management nor lack of energy access are problems which Senegal will face alone. This year, H.E. President Macky Sall has assumed the mantle of President of the African Union, granting his nation’s globalization efforts and springboarded sustainable development fresh momentum with visits from international dignitaries including the UN Secretary General, South African, Turkish, Ugandan, German and World Bank Presidents in recent months. Last month, Sall attended the G7 conference in Germany by special invite, following the launch of a suite of electrification and rural development projects funded by the German International Development Agency (GIZ).
And even prior to this momentous year, European financiers have played a crucial role in backing Senegal’s energy and waste management goals, notably through the $53.8 million Training and Awareness Project on Sorting and Collection of Household Waste training 1000 students in hygiene and waste sorting and the Integrated Waste Management in Western Africa project targeting responsible disposal of solid waste, not to mention hundreds of megawatts of added power generation capacity through low-carbon power plant facilities.
On 1 to 2 September this year, Senegal will play host to the MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power Conference 2022 bringing hundreds of high-level intersectional energy sector and adjacent stakeholders from across the MSGBC basin and African continent together in the formulation of a robust narrative for the future of African power that develops Africa. As Europe strengthens its development ties with the region and hankers for a share of West Africa’s exponentially growing power generation, international financiers will converge on Dakar from Europe as well as Africa, Asia, America, Australia and the Middle East for an intensive two days of discussions. Waste to power projects are just the start as Senegal and its neighbors ride the wave of technological innovation on a green recovery. To be part of this leading West African energy event visit