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Program background

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The tourism sector and the interest that it can present for the growth and the development of Senegal were put forward in the Strategy of Accelerated Growth (SCA) elaborated by the Senegalese authorities. Tourism, like the fishing sector, is one of the growth clusters identified.

In 2006, “the study of strategic diagnosis and development plan of the cluster tourism, cultural industries and crafts (TICAA)”, proposes to the Senegalese authorities to reason in a logic of poles of tourist development. Six are identified, including one in the Saint-Louis Region.

The region of the river and the city of Saint-Louis, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000, are full of significant tourist potential. The Senegal River and the areas it passes through offer a wide diversity of landscapes and sites, nature reserves and national parks present a great diversity of animal species, including birds, and the historical, cultural and natural heritage of Saint-Louis of Senegal make it a unique tourist destination

Despite the efforts of the Senegalese authorities and the support of the international community, the loss of heritage values, due to the accelerated degradation of the classified site, jeopardizes the possibility of basing the economic development of the city on the heritage resource. In 2010, the Government of Senegal requested AFD’s support to make sustainable use of the cultural, urban and natural heritage of Saint-Louis and its region, to support a local dynamic already committed to improving the living conditions of the inhabitants, development of economic activities and improvement of urban infrastructures, equipment and services which constitute a barrier to tourism development.

The presence of local and international actors (decentralized cooperation, UNESCO) that have accompanied the commune of Saint-Louis for many years benefits the implementation of the Program.

Objectives and content of the program

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The Territorial and Tourism Development Program of Saint-Louis and its Region aims to develop sustainable tourism based on the enhancement of historical, cultural and natural heritage. Its purpose is to support, through a diversification of its economy based on the development of sustainable tourism, a strong economic growth in the Senegal River region and more particularly in favor of its main urban center, Saint-Louis. It includes actions in diversified fields that contribute to creating the necessary conditions for local development, contributing to the improvement of the living environment of the populations and users of the city of Saint-Louis, the mitigation of nuisances and unsanitary conditions, preserving the major economic role of the fishing sector and participating in the preservation and conservation of the heritage of Île Saint-Louis.

Geographically, this program covers the city of Saint-Louis as an entry point for tourist flows for the North region and the Djoudj Natural Park and the Gueumbeul Nature Reserve , located in the Saint-Louis Region.

The program has six components, including an institutional support component:

  1. Improvement of the tourist reception The objective is to densify the tourist offer in the urban space, in order to prolong the stays of the tourists in the city. In addition to physical achievements, this axis requires a reinforcement of the actors of the tourist reception, in particular by a specific support to the Tourist Office of Saint-Louis. The planned achievements, beyond the actions of training and support for tourism stakeholders, are the redevelopment of the tourist office and museum Mermoz, the development of the point of view of the roof of the Post Office, the redevelopment of the village craft and facilities favoring the reception in the parks of Djoudj and Gueumbeul .  
  2. Requalification of public spaces: This is a development of the urban heritage and a requalification of several public spaces of the island, as much to improve the attractiveness of the site as to make it more functional and more attractive for its inhabitants particularly in urban mobility. It is planned in this component: the rehabilitation of the Place Faidherbe and the Place de Pointe-à-Pitre, the redevelopment of the Avenue Jean Mermoz, the rehabilitation of certain roads and networks, the rehabilitation of the Quays (Jay, Giraud and Roume ), the requalification of the South Corniche ( Sor Island ) and the development of the bus station. 
  • Rehabilitation of private and public built heritage: Through an approach inspired by “Programmed Improvement Operations of Housing (OPAH)” in France, it is planned in this context the rehabilitation of the house of the Cluny sisters to become the ” “Heritage House”, the rehabilitation of state heritage elements, such as the Cathedral for example, the expected comprehensive rehabilitation of 42 private buildings with architectural interest of the safeguarded sector that are in poor condition, the partial rehabilitation expected of 93 private buildings located on urban sequences of tourist interest (operations such as “facades, roofs, security”). 
  1. Strengthening solid waste management: This involves strengthening the management of household and medical solid waste, particularly through the redevelopment of the Gandon Waste Landfill Center , the redevelopment and strengthening of the cleaning service workshops and improvement of the disposal of biomedical waste. 
  2. Improvement of the landing conditions for fishery products: The aim is to improve landing conditions and packaging of artisanal fishery products within a well-equipped fishing base on the site of the Polish port (hydrobase) on the Langue de Barbarie, notably with the development of the site of the hydrobase and the resumption of the road between Saint-Louis and the fishing pier. 
  3. Institutional Capacity Building: This is to support the implementation of the program and to build the capacities of the various stakeholders, project owners and municipal services of the city, by means of a general resident and specific technical assistance. , additional studies, acquisition of logistical resources and training. 

Speakers and modus operandi

Given the local roots of the program, it was agreed, from the definition of the latter with the Senegalese authorities, the town of St. Louis was to play an important role in its implementation in the implementation phase , the Commune of Saint-Louis is the project owner for the parts under its jurisdiction, in particular the development of public spaces, the management of waste and interventions on built heritage within its prerogatives.

The State services provide project management for the parts of the program that fall directly under their jurisdiction: fishing, the management of natural parks and interventions on the State’s heritage. Finally, the Tourist Office-Syndicat d’Initiative of the city of Saint-Louis provides project management for some of the direct support activities for players in the tourism sector and for promoting the Saint-Louis destination. The Program is conducted under the aegis of a Steering Committee (CP) chaired by the Governor of the Saint-Louis region. It is completed by a technical committee (TC) bringing together the various owners. For each of the components of the program, an actor responsible for monitoring it is designated and a national coordinator will be responsible for overseeing the whole. Finally, technical assistance to project management and capacity building measures are put in place to reinforce the control of structures in the implementation of the components, to accompany the implementation of the program within the time and the required conditions, and ensure the sustainability of the policies developed and the durability of the works carried out.

It has been the project owner of the feasibility studies, in consultation with all the stakeholders concerned, in particular the State services.

Cost and financing

The overall amount of the program is approximately € 27 million. The majority of financing is provided by AFD in the form of a sovereign loan to the State (€ 22.5 million), a project management support grant (€ 1 million) and two grants. under the Program of Strengthening Commercial Capabilities-PRCC (€ 1M), to the State and the Tourist Office-Syndicat d’Initiative of Saint-Louis. The State of Senegal and AFD signed the first two conventions on October 12, 2012 in the presence of the Presidents of the Republic of the two countries. The last two agreements were signed respectively on July 3 and June 18, 2013. € 16.25 million in AFD financing will be implemented under the responsibility of the municipality of Saint-Louis. The setting up of the project integrates the contribution of individuals in the operation of rehabilitation of the private heritage, the municipality, on own resources (mobilized in particular for the reinforcement of municipal human resources) and cooperation actions already in progress.

Main expected effects

By renovating public spaces, natural parks, fisheries landing conditions and waste management, the living conditions of residents and users will be improved. Through the sustainable development of the classified heritage of Saint-Louis and its region, the improvement of sanitary conditions, infrastructures and urban management, the program aims to create a favorable environment for the reinforcement of the economic activity around cultural tourism, heritage and nature discovery.

It participates in the development of the territory and contributes to enhancing the image of the city and its region and the preservation of the classification of the site by UNESCO. In addition to the positive economic impacts expected in the medium term, the program should result in capacity building of the municipality of Saint-Louis.

New institutional framework

Following the working seminar and the Steering Committee of July 2017, a major change in the project’s management modalities was formally recorded: no renewal of general technical assistance and use of APIX, an agency responsible for major works and investments in Senegal, as delegated contracting authority.

To this end, an agreement is signed between the main project owners (St Louis Commune, Ministry of Culture, Tourist Office) and APIX, on November 28, 2018.

Also, a specific agreement will be signed between the Chamber of trades and the APIX, for the rehabilitation of the artisanal village.

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